DELHI University ( DU) has about 6,000 students from the North- East but its student union elections rarely reflect their presence. This year, however, things are different. After a gap of almost four years, a political group has finally fielded a candidate from the North- East for the Delhi University Students’ Union ( DUSU) elections.
Eighteen- year- old Koj Tado from Arunachal Pradesh is contesting for the post of joint secretary on behalf of the All- India Students’ Federation ( AISF).
DUSU polls have not seen a candidate from the North- East since 2006. That year, the Students’ Federation of India as well as the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha fielded one contestant each for the posts of secretary and vice- president, respectively.
The north- eastern student community has had inadequate representation in campus politics. Popular groups such as the Congress- backed National Students Union of India and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad have failed to put forward even one candidate from the region in the past decade.
In such a scenario, Tado feels his candidature will make a difference. “ I hope I do well.
That way other parties will feel inspired to encourage more and more north- eastern students to fight elections,” said the firstyear student pursuing a BSc Computer Science ( honours) degree at Hansraj College.
Tado, who hails from a small town called Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh, moved to Delhi this year for further studies. His initial experience on campus wasn’t different from what other students from the North- East face every year.
“ I had a hard time finding accommodation.
I feel our community is marginalised and harassed in the Capital. I want students from my community to participate more actively in campus politics. That is how we can have our voices heard and ensure our demands are met. I am contesting to bring in this change,” he said.
The AISF made its comeback in DUSU polls only last year and is still trying to gain a foothold in the university. However, the party does not perceive fielding Tado as a risk.
“ Political ambition is not everything for us.
Our idea is to encourage students like Tado to participate in campus politics and hence we’ve given him an opportunity,” AISF secretary Victor Dhissa said.
DU goes to polls on September 3.