The three-day Young India Referendum 2024 conducted by All India Students' Association (AISA) in public and private universities across the country has evoked an enthusiastic response. This referendum aims to capture the opinions of students and youth in light of the 2024 general elections. The Referendum, from February 7th and 9th, follows an all-India signature campaign where students and job-seekers posed ten questions to the Modi-led Central Government regarding its ten years in power. The campaign highlights the erosion of public-funded higher education institutes, attack on democratic spaces, assault on dissenting voices, inaccessibility of education, lack of dignified employment, among other concerns.
On February 7th, the Referendum was held in University of Allahabad, Veer Kunwar Singh University (Ara), Patna University, BN Mandal University (Bihar), Lalit Narayan Mithila University (Bihar), Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia, SK University (Andhra Pradesh), Dr. Abdul Haq Urdu University (Andhra Pradesh), Krishna University (Andhra Pradesh), Bengaluru University, Sri Krishnadevaraya University (Karnataka), Jadavpur University (Kolkata), ICFAI University (Tripura), Hemchand Yadav University (Chhattisgarh), Azim Premji University, Manipal University, among many other affiliated colleges across the nation.
AISA aims to focus Young India on crucial issues such as public-funded education, fee hikes, unemployment, centralization of entrance examinations, and the dilution of education. The referendum spans over sixty universities in multiple states, which is receiving an enthusiastic and overwhelming support from the student masses.
Notably, the referendum faced disruption in the south campus of Delhi University by the members of ABVP. The goons, threatened by the student participation thrashed and burnt the ballot boxes of Aryabhatta and RLA Colleges after attacking AISA activists conducting the referendum.
In the broader context, this referendum is an attempt to unite Young India in shaping the agenda for the upcoming elections. The outreach campaign and the signature campaign so far reflected that the students and youth of this country are poised to reject vacuous empty rhetoric and divisive politics, instead desiring this general election to center around concrete policies such as the right to quality education, women’s safety on campuses, and the right to employment.