New Delhi: Delhi University (DU) is not only the largest central university of the country but its student union and student union elections are also considered a school for future politicians.
Leaders like Arun Jaitley, Ajay Maken, Vijay Goel and Subhash Chopra, who started their political journey from Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), reached great heights in the country’s politics.
Late Arun Jaitley, who was a leader of the ABVP and then BJP, was a well-known lawyer of the country. He played an important role in the BCCI and in politics, too, as he was made in-charge of various Assembly elections by the party.
Ajay Maken of the Congress, who became DUSU president from NSUI, also made a name for himself in politics. He became an MLA, and then a Minister in the Delhi Government, was the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. A two-time Lok Sabha MP, he was a Minister in the central government and also the general secretary of the Congress.
The BJP’s Vijay Goel, a Rajya Sabha MP and a three-time Lok Sabha MP also served as a Minister in the Central Government. He has also held important positions in the party organisation.
Many successful leaders like Vijay Jolly, Amrita Dhawan (Congress), Alka Lamba, Anil Jha Vats (BJP) and Rohit Chaudhary (Congress) got their start in active politics from the DUSU.
While some like Arun Jaitley, Ajay Maken and Vijay Goel became the face of national politics, some others who started their political journey from DUSU later went on to be a part of the Municipal Corporation and Legislative Assembly.
According to the DU administration, the first student union elections were held in 1954. Former Finance Minister and late Arun Jaitley who was the DUSU president during his student days, went on to become a Union Minister in the governments of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP MP Vijay Goel who was the president of DUSU in 1978 later became a Union Minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
According to Professor Gyan Tripathi, who closely observes student politics, DUSU elections provide an opportunity to study the political pulse of the youth and students of the country. “In such a situation, before the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, DUSU elections will provide important information about the mood of the youth and students,” Professor Tripathi said.
In DU, there is a direct contest between the ABVP and the NSUI. Both have announced their panels for the students union. ABVP has fielded Tushar Dedha for the post of president, Sushant Dhankar for vice president, Aparajita for secretary and Sachin Baisla for the co-secretary’s job.
On behalf of NSUI, Hitesh Gulia will contest for the post of president, Abhi Dahiya for vice president, Yakshna Sharma for secretary and Shubham Chaudhary for joint secretary.
The ABVP was successful in establishing its dominance in the last DUSU elections. However, many big leaders from both ABVP and NSUI have come into active politics.
In 2008-2009, Nupur Sharma, who became DUSU president from ABVP, was the spokesperson of BJP Delhi. Talking about NSUI, student leaders like Subhash Chopra, Alka Lamba, Shalu Malik, Amrita Dhawan, Rohit Chaudhary have achieved positions in national and Delhi politics.
In 1995, Alka Lamba, who was DUSU president, became an MLA from the Aam Aadmi Party. Now, she is a Congress spokesperson. Amrita Dhawan, who became president in 2006, was elected councilor. Rohit Chaudhary from NSUI was DUSU president in 2003-04 and later became the national secretary of AICC.
Political pundits associated with student politics believe that among the leaders who started their political careers as DUSU presidents, the late Arun Jaitley, Ajay Maken and Vijay Goel were the most successful. These three leaders became Union Ministers.
The 1970 DUSU president Subhash Chopra became a MLA of Delhi Assembly thrice. Alok Kumar (BJP), Harishankar Gupta (Congress), Vijay Jolly, Alka Lamba and Anil Jha Vats have also been MLAs.