Anjana Ashok, UG 22 The long-awaited Presidential Debate took place on February 10th, 2020, at 9
Riddhi Verma, UG 22
Politics took many forms on the night of 6th February. The debate started off with the most striking appearance of the new party L.I.B.E.R.A.N.D.U. The satirical tone and mockery pierced through the halls of Takshila as they made their grand opening, discussing the hypocrisy of the modern-day politics within our campus. Using their wit, they took a strong stand for what they believe, which appeared confusing at first, but on looking closely, their message was clear- criticism of any government cannot come if you choose to be politically apathetic or selectively choose to be sympathetic. Some in the crowd came for the hot chocolate offered by Mad Batter and some, simply to see L.I.B.E.R.A.N.D.U. and have a few laughs on a Friday evening. It became apparent that the appeal behind humour and food was much larger than the appeal made by any political party or independent and their promises in their manifestos.
Still, all of the parties and independents were present and ready for a long night of debate. Prakrit was represented by two candidates- Niharika Mehrotra and Varnika Gangavalli. The two young ladies took the time to make hard-hitting points about inclusivity, sensitivity and mental health. When hit with questions about sexual harassment and the lack of mention of any promises in their manifesto, instead of reiterating false promises to make a change, they simply apologised and said they will make a change. This perhaps echoed the loudest in all their debate responses.
Not to be left out, the representative of Moksh came to take a stand on certain issues as well. They spoke about privilege, inclusivity, and levelling the playing fields. However, at times their rhetoric seemed a little empty. A few of their facts did slip up. When they mentioned a portal that gave everyone access to detailed information about the diversity and job placement on campus, it was pointed out by the representatives of Prakrit that such a portal did not actually exist.
Dhamma also brought to the table interesting conversations. With their desire to invite and examine right-wing politics, they spoke more about tolerance, while not ignoring the points of inclusivity and sensitivity.
The independent candidates also had the opportunity to shine bright this evening. Shweta Siddhu and Chirodip Nidhu brought forward pertinent points about how the student government work for the people from the ground up. Shweta spoke about her door-to-door campaign, and desire to bring politics to the people, rather than people to the politics. Chirodeep talked about his work with the Office of Learning Support, and deep desire to change the system in favour of those with disabilities, considering the fact that the fast-paced, technologically advanced system right now, is failing many. He pushed hard against Moksh, that took the help of technology as their main solution to problems. Harshit Kumar, our last independent, brought to the table the question of creating a good political model that sets a standard for the outside world. He wished to work hand-in-hand with artistic clubs on campus to expand this model outside the halls of Ashoka. However, this goal seemed far-fetched, and the age-old adage “before you clean the world, clean up your own room” seemed to ring in the minds of the audience.