October 8, 2006
Take his tea, but vote for me
Shashi Tharoor, jeetega zaroor. That was the slogan on which he contested the St. Stephen's College Union election, 1974. In his column - The Hindu - Mr Tharoor writes the slogan turned out to be prophetic. His 'most memorable achievement', as college union president, was improving the quality of vegetarian food at the mess. Mr Tharoor had also kept his union out of the JP moment, a stance, he said, he later regretted during the Emergency.
I had won a campus election too. This was at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE), a few minutes walk across the road from the St. Stephen's. Unlike Mr Tharoor, I can't say I achieved anything . At DSE those days we didn't even have a canteen ,for me to improve the quality of its offerings. We used to stroll across to Ramjas College for snacks and smoke. Like Mr Tharoor, I had a regret. I could not keep DSE from joining the Delhi University Students Union.
Till my term DSE students had kept themselves away from the university union affairs. Our college didn't even call its students body as a union. At DSE we were part of, what they called, a 'fraternity', of which the president was DSE director. And the students elected the vice-president. It was during my term as VP the student body adopted a resolution, affiliating itself to the Delhi University Students Union. For the record, I cast my vote against the resolution.
The DSE Students 'Fraternity', presumably, hasn't since been the same again. Politics came to characterise student body election. Mine was the last term - 1959-60 - when election was won through a fraternal contest. My slogan against my only rival was : 'Take his tea, but vote for me'.