Women-centric issues on every manifesto but very few female candidates in DUSU polls
Almost every students’ organisation is making the issue of women’s safety and security a major poll plank for the September 9 DUSU elections. But the two main players, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) have fielded only one female candidate each in the member panel. However, All India Students’ Association (AISA), on the other hand, has fielded three female candidates.
The only female candidate fielded by BJP-backed ABVP is Priyanka Chhawri who is contesting for the post of vice-president. While Vinita Dhaka, who is standing for the secretary’s seat, is Congress-affiliated NSUI’s only female candidate in the panel. On the other hand, AISA has fielded female contestant for the posts of president, vice-president and joint-secretary.
“The fact that we have three candidates in our panel is itself a historical moment. But let me clarify that fielding female candidates is not just tokenism. It based on the firm belief that women are as good as men when it come to leading students’ organisations. If there is equality of women at student-level elections, certainly it will have national repercussions,” said Kawalpreet Kaur, presidential candidate of AISA.
NSUI and ABVP have outlined installation of CCTV cameras to ensure safer environment for female students in the campus. However, AISA is against this techno-centric solution. “I am not against CCTV cameras in the campus per se. What we are against is the 24x7 surveillance that CCTV cameras give rise to. Every move of female students will be monitored, and in a way, it will ensure that female students are locked up in PGs and hostels after 7 o’clock,” added Kaur.
“Since the time I joined college, I have faced subtle discrimination which is prevalent in the campus. NSUI has given me the platform to fight for the safety and security of female students and I will leave no stone unturned in this endeavour,” said Vinata Dhaka, secretarial candidate of NSUI.
ABVP is more techno-centric in dealing with the issue of safety of women. Apart from their emphasis on CCTV cameras it had helped in launching a women safety app called ‘I feel safe’ in August. “We will organise seminars to spread awareness about the app. We would also demand to start self-defense classes in every colleges of the University,” said Priyanka Chhawri, ABVP’s vice-presidential candidate.