RSS-backed front retains DUTA president post, wins by reduced margin

AK Bhagi retained the post of DUTA president defeating alliance candidate Aditya Mishra by 395 votes

AK Bhagi, candidate supported by RSS-backed National Democratic Teachers' Front (photo: @_DrSujeetSharma/ X)
AK Bhagi, candidate supported by RSS-backed National Democratic Teachers' Front (photo: @_DrSujeetSharma/ X)

NH Digital

The RSS-backed National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF) candidate AK Bhagi retained the post of Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) president, defeating Democratic United Teachers' Alliance candidate Aditya Narayan Mishra by 395 votes.

Bhagi polled 4,182 votes, while Mishra received 3,787. This represents a reduced margin since 2021, when NDTF had won by more than 1,300 votes. Before 2021, the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) won the polls five times in a row. A total of 8,187 out of 9,500 eligible voters voted in the elections this time.

The united teachers' alliance has been formed by ten organisations including DTF, the AAP-backed Academic for Action and Development Delhi Teachers’ Association, Indian National Teachers Congress, Delhi Teachers’ Initiative, Samajwadi Shikshak Manch, Common Teachers’ Front, Independent Teachers’ Front for Social Justice, and ‘voice of DU Ad hocs’.

Apart from this, other winning candidates among the 15-member DUTA executive are Trimbak Chumbak of NDTF, who polled 6,929 votes; Abha Dev of DTF, who polled 6,918 votes; Amit Singh of NDTF, who got 6,816 votes; Rudrasish Chakraborty of DTF who polled 5,688 votes; Sudhanshu Kumar of Congress-aligned INTEC(I), who received 5,264 votes; N Sachin of CTF, who polled 5,197 votes; Deo Nandan of AADTA, who got 4,939 votes; Bimalendra Tirthankar of AADTA, who received 4,769 votes; Anand Prakash of AADTA got 4,517 votes; Anil Kumar of SDTF received 4,296 votes; and Sanjeev Kaushal of DTF, who got 4,109 votes.

“This is not a big win for NDTF with the thousands of appointments made over last two years. They were hoping for a larger margin of victory. Our campaign amongst teachers was on challenges facing higher education and displacement of serving teachers. Teachers helped us to give a very close fight. We were hoping for a win and the alliance will continue to work for the welfare of teachers,” said professor Abha Dev Habib.

Misra, who held the post of DUTA president for three terms, said their alliance has emerged as “a formidable force” to safeguard the rights of teachers at the university. He alleged that the DU has taken a loan of several crores of rupees and the university’s financial burden may have a direct impact on students.

The DUTA elections this year was held in the backdrop of a crisis confronting the public character of Delhi University and public higher education in the country as a whole. There have been a series of policy-driven efforts to undermine public higher education that are centered around NEP 2020.

In 2021, almost after 24 years, Bhagi had been elected to the post of president, defeating Abha Dev Habib of the Left-affiliated DTF by 1,382 votes.

The DUTA president post was last won by the NDTF in 1997 when Shriram Oberoi was their candidate, and until 2021, the post was either held by the DTF or the AAD.

In the 2019 elections, Bhagi, who then too was contesting for the post of president, had lost to Rajib Ray of DTF by a slim margin. Five NDTF candidates have been also elected to the 15-member DUTA executive.

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