Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wait for 28 years to end as DUCSU goes to polls Monday

  • Suliman Niloy, Faysal Atik and Masum Billah, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-03-11 00:10:39 BdST

Elections to the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union or DUCSU, which had played the pivotal role in all the movements in Bangladesh’s politics, are finally going to be held after 28 years.

The authorities have taken preparations for voting at the 18 residential halls from 8am to 2pm on Monday.

DUCSU was formed a year after Dhaka University was established in 1921. The university’s student leaders were at the forefront of the Language Movement and the Independence Movement.

Though DUCSU elections are to be held every year, there have only been six ballots since independence. The last election was held on Jun 6, 1990. Though efforts were made several times, no election has been organised since then.

Analysts say the grooming of youth leadership has stalled due to the absence of a DUCSU. President Md Abdul Hamid, who is the ex-officio chancellor of the universities in Bangladesh, asked Dhaka University to organise the DUCSU polls in his speech at its convocation last year.

The High Court later settled a six-year-old rule on the issue, ordering DUCSU elections within six months or Mar 15 this year.

Chief Returning Officer SM Mahfuzur Rahman on Feb 2 announced the schedule despite objections from most of the student organisations, including the BNP’s Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal or JCD, to setting up the polling stations at residential halls and many other issues.

A total of 229 are contesting for 25 posts in the central union and 509 for 13 in each of the hall unions.

Some 43,255 students have been registered as voters with 16,312 attached to female halls. Ruqayyah Hall has most voters – 4,608.

The number of candidates for the top post – vice-president or VP – is 21. Besides them, 14 are running for the general secretary or GS and 13 for the assistant general secretary or AGS. 

Apart from the candidates from 12 panels, nine are contesting for VP and two for GS posts as independently.

The organisations that have put up candidates for all the posts include the Awami League’s affiliate Bangladesh Chhatra League or BCL, JCD, a platform of leftist organisations, and Bangladesh Council to Protect General Students’ Rights, which came to limelight through protests for reforms to quota system in government jobs.

The candidates from these organisations include -

BCL’s Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shobhon (VP), Golam Rabbani (GS) and Saddam Hossain (AGS);

JCD’s Mostafizur Rahman (VP), Anisur Rahman Khandaker Anik (GS) and Khorshed Alam (AGS);

Leftist student panel’s Liton Nandi (VP), Faysal Mahmud Sumon (GS) and Sadequl Islam Sadique (AGS);   

General student rights council’s Nurul Haque Nur (VP), Muhammad Rashed Khan (GS) and Faruk Hasan (AGS).

ডাকসুর গল্প  

All the students organisations but BCL had raised allegations of favouritism against the authorities amidst campaign that ended Sunday morning.

The candidates of all the panels other than the BCL one submitted a memorandum with different demands to Vice-Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman, who is going to be the ex-officio president of the DUCSU, in the afternoon.   

They objected to sending the ballot boxes to the centres on the eve of voting and expressed fear of intimidation as the halls of residence have been designated as polling stations. 

They also spoke of their concern over a lack of time for voting and means to transport non-residential students.

Professor Abdul Basir, a returning officer, said the ballot boxes will be opened and shown to the candidates before being sealed off in the morning.

Police put up barricades at the entrances to the campus to bar all other than voters, teachers, officials, and journalists. 

The restrictions will be in place until 6pm on Monday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia has said.

Proctor Golam Rabbani said the authorities were prepared to ensure fairness of the vote.

Police will be deployed to assist the administration in ensuring security at four places on the campus, he added.