Student bodies want peaceful coexistence for Ducsu polls

Dhaka, Jan 29 (UNB) – Different student bodies have demanded that the Dhaka University authorities take necessary steps to ensure the peaceful coexistence of leaders and activists of all organisations on the campus to make the much-awaited Ducsu election a participatory one.

The university authorities on January 23 announced to hold the elections to Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) and hall unions on March 11.

With this, the long-pending Ducsu election is going to be held after 28 years as the last one was held on June 6, 1990.

The announcement of the polls date without resolving various issues, including finalisation of voter list and amendment to the Ducsu charter, raised questions about the authorities’ sincerity to hold a free and participatory election, alleged leaders of different student organisations.

Talking to UNB, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) DU unit president AL Mehedi Hasan Talukder expressed his disappointment over the issues, saying, “The first condition of a participatory election is the coexistence of leaders and supporters of all parties on the campus. But the cadres of Bangladesh Chhatra League are not allowing any JCD leader and activist to stay at residential halls. Even the opposition activists can’t attend the classes and appear in exams. We demand that the university administration create equal facilities for all.”

“They (authorities) are yet to publish the final voter list and confirm where the booths will be set up. We don’t understand how they announced the election date without resolving the issues,” he added.

Bangladesh Chhatra Union DU unit president Foez Ullah said, “If the authorities would have announced the date after publishing the final voter list and necessary amendment to the Ducsu charter, it would have been better for us to take preparations.”

Welcoming the announcement of polls date, BCL DU President Sonjit Chandra Das told UNB, “We’re welcoming the decision and hope that they’ll fix an age limit and find out acceptable path for the candidates. But it would have been better had the authorities resolved the issues before the announcement of the date. We’re still not clear as to who can contest the polls or who will be allowed to vote.”

The university authorities had arranged several meetings with student bodies and hall provosts, where they gave proposals to bring amendments to some parts of the Ducsu charter as it is not time-befitting.

All the student bodies at the last meeting of Paribesh Parishad, a council comprising the university authorities and the representatives of students’ organisations, demanded increasing the age limit to 30 for candidates and announcing the final list of voters.

Meanwhile, most of the student organisations, including JCD and left-leaning ones, demanded steps to ensure equal political coexistence of the activists of student wings of different political parties on the campus.

They also demanded setting up election booths at the academic buildings of the university instead of residential halls over security concerns.

Chief returning officer of Ducsu polls Prof SM Mahfuzur Rahman said they were preparing the complete schedule for the polls which would be announced within a short time.
He also said work to bring amendment to the Ducsu charter, devise electoral code of conduct and finalise the voter list is going on in full swing.
On January 17, 2018, the High Court ordered the Dhaka University authorities to take steps to hold the Ducsu elections within in six months.

Earlier on January 6, the Supreme Court vacated its earlier order that stayed a High Court order asking the Dhaka University authorities to take necessary steps within the next six months to hold the Ducsu election.

On November 1, 2018, the DU authorities published the draft voter list for the elections.

According to the draft voter list, a total of 38,493 regular students — 23,984 males and 14,509 females — will be able to exercise their voting rights during the Ducsu and hall union polls.