Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Student organisations are mixed on DUCSU election schedule

  • Tarek Hasan Nirjhor, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-02-11 17:36:20 BdST


The Chhatra League has hailed the schedule announced for the Dhaka University Central Student’s Union or DUCSU election, while the Chhatra Dal has rejected it. Leftist student organisations have also raised objections.  

The Dhaka University authority has initiated the DUCSU election after three decades under orders from the High Court. Chief Returning Officer Prof SM Mahfuzur Rahman announced the schedule on Monday. 

The student organisations disagreed on where to arrange the poll booths, once the authority decided to hold the polls.

The Chhatra League applauded the idea to set up the polling centres in the student dormitories following tradition but the Chhatra Dal and leftist student organisations demanded the polling centres be in the academic buildings.

The authority decided to set up the polling centres in the student halls. The students can vote in the hall elections on Mar 11 after presenting their identification, it said.

Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling party Awami League began to prepare for the DUCSU elections as soon as they were announced.

We have welcomed and accepted the schedule, Saddam Hossain, general secretary of the Dhaka University unit of the Chhatra League told bdnews24.com in his immediate response to the schedule.

“The general students at Dhaka University are looking forward to an elected leadership. They want such student politicians who will be accountable to them and they want the kind of Dhaka University they dreamed of.”

“Since there is no logical platform to fulfil [our opposing organisations’] demand, we welcome this election schedule as it respects the needs of the Dhaka University students.” 

Chhatra Dal, the student wing of the BNP, demanded the election be held after ensuring a peaceful coexistence of the various student units in the campus. They had placed a memorandum with the university authority to defer the election schedule. 

The university authority has been ‘working to make the student wing of the ruling party to win,’ Bashar Siddiqui, general secretary of Dhaka University wing of Chhatra Dal, told bdnews24.com after the schedule was announced.  

“We have rejected this election schedule. We urged them to defer the election by submitting a memorandum and asking for dialogues. But they never listened to us. We told the authority to ensure the coexistence of the student units before the election. But they just announced the election schedule.” 

“This proves that the authority has arranged it all to make the Chhatra League win the election.”

 “Chhatra League has captured all of the halls. It is clear that it will never be a fair election if the polling centres are in the halls,” said the Chhatra Dal leader. 

They will decide whether to contest the election after discussions, said Bashar.

The authority’s announcement of the election schedule ignoring demands has led to anxiety, Liton Nandi, general secretary of Chhatra Union, told bdnews24.com.  

“On one hand, the announcement of election schedule brought cheer, but it also created ‘anxiety’ because of how the election would be conducted.”

“We had placed some specific demands to the university authority. But they have arranged the election ignoring those demands and considering only the desires one group. This creates doubt over the neutrality of the election and causes anxiety,” he said.   

“We will continue to press for their demands in addition to preparing for the election,” said Liton. 

“We may announce an informal panel within the next six days. We want the syndicate to reconsider our demands and ensure equal opportunity for all and a free and fair election.”

Apart from the student wings of political parties, the platform of quota-reform protestors “Council for the Preservation of General Students’ Rights” is also preparing to contest the election.

“We had placed several demands to the vice-chancellor, including setting up polling centres outside the halls, which was a common demand from most of the student organisations. None of our demands were reflected in the schedule,” Hasan Al Mamun, convener of the council, told bdnews24.com.

The council will decide on contesting the election through discussion, he said.