It would be an over-simplification to reduce if to mere physical geography, just as it would be an exaggeration to deem it a case of intellectuals versus the “plebs”. Yet the sharp contrast in the results thrown up in the elections to the students unions of the two premier universities in the Capital has its own significance.
Customarily the verdict in the more populous Delhi University is deemed an early-warning radar of political preferences, and it is not surprising that the contest has traditionally been between the Congress-favouring National Students Union of India and the saffron flavoured Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Neither of them have been able to demolish the “Red Fort” that Shahjehan did not build. History repeated itself over the last few days, providing the major political forces food for thought as they whet their appetites for the feast due next spring/summer. With the ABVP improving its position to bag three of the four key contests in the DU polls, the BJP would feel rather confident that the Modi-wave has not waned to any worrisome degree.
On the other hand, the NSUI not making much headway serves to provide further confirmation that under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership the Congress is gaining little ground. If there is any cause for headaches it is for Arvind Kejriwal’s fledgling students wing. Is that a pointer to the Aam Aadmi Party having been a mere one-time wonder (actually two elections) and risking collapsing under its own contradictions?
The Congress’ disinclination to look beyond the family for its leadership is also reflected in its poor showing at JNU, despite the rejection there of the so-called Hindutva sentiment and an allegedly compromised official establishment. And that would emphasise the point that despite the concerted bid to have the RSS infiltrate academic/professional bodies the “Left” retains its potency.
The ABVP contention that the Left-wing umbrella was extended to more groups this year is as much a case of sour grapes as the Congress’ allegation that the DUSU polls were rigged. If, as is projected, JNU is endowed with “grey matter” then the BJP should be worried that its polarised politics are proving repulsive to some thinking people.
The victory margins at JNU ought to get the BJP-RSS leadership to take another look at how far, and for how much longer, the Hindu ticket will take them. Both DU and JNU have thrown up their share of political “stars” ~ Arun Jaitley, Vijay Goel, Sitaram Yechury, Nirmala Sitharaman etc. so there cannot be any ridiculing reading between the lines of the election results.
There is one plus-point common to both universities ~ their sensitivity to political winds cannot be underestimated. So while the DU result would boost the Amit Shah-line of winning despite mob lynching, sedition charges, calls to “go to Pakistan” etc, a more reasonable BJP leadership would do well to note that the JNU verdict negates their higher aspirations.