All eyes are now on Dhaka University as its central students’ union, known as DUCSU and hall unions are set to go to the much-delayed polls on Monday, breaking the 28 years’ deadlock.
The university authorities have already taken all the necessary steps to conduct the polls in a festive manner after a frantic electioneering by all the major student organisations.
A total of 43,256 DU students, including 16,292 females and 26,964 males, are eligible to exercise their right to franchise in the 6-hour voting which will begin at 8am and continue until 2pm without any break.
According to the final list published by the chief returning officer's office, a total of 229 candidates are vying for the 25 posts of DUCSU (Dhaka University Central Student's Union DUCSU).
Among them, 21 are vying for vice president while 14 for general secretary, and 13 for assistant general secretary.
Besides, 11 candidates are vying for the Liberation War secretary post, while nine each for the science and technology secretary and common room and cafeteria secretary posts, 11 for the international affairs secretary post, 8 for the literary secretary post, 12 for the cultural secretary post, 11 for the sports secretary post, 10 for the student transport secretary post, 14 for the social welfare secretary post, and 86 for aspirants for the member posts.
In the hall union elections, a total of 509 aspirants are in race for 13 positions in each of 18 residential halls of the university.
It is assumed that there will be a tough contest in the DUCSU polls between the candidates of ruling party-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Bangladesh General Student Right Protection Council that led the quota-reform movement.
From the Chhatra League panel, Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, Golam Rabbani, and Saddam Hussain are vying for the three vital posts of VP, GS, and AGS respectively.
In contrast, Nurul Huq Nur, Mohammad Rashed Khan, and Faruk Hussain from the panel of Bangladesh General Student Right Protection Council are contesting the polls for the pots of VP, general secretary, and assistant general secretary respectively.
On the other hand, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal-nominated Mustafizur Rahman, Anisur Rahman, and Khorshed Alam Sohel, while the left alliance-backed Liton Nandi, Faisal Mahmud, and Sadekul Islam are also vying for the posts of VP, GS and AGS posts.
Talking to UNB, DU Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani said it is a big challenge for them to hold a peaceful and participatory election since the polls are going to be held after 28 years.
“The election environment is good. We hope we’ll be able to complete the polls smoothly,” he said.
Mentioning that the classes and examinations will remain closed on the voting day, the Proctor said the university buses will run normally so that the non-residential students can easily come to the campus and cast their votes.
According to the university administration a total of 508 polling booths have been set in 18 residential dorms for the voting.
Among them, 25 polling booths have been set up at Jagannath Hall while 20 at Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah Hal, 30 at Haji Muhammad Mohsin Hall, 35 each at Shamsunnahar Hall, Salimullah Muslim Hall and Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall, 32 at Master Da Surja Sen Hall, 22 at Zahurul Haq Hall, 20 at Muktijoddha Ziaur Rahman Hall, 50 at Ruqayyah Hall, 20 each at Kabi Jasimuddin Hall, Amar Ekushey Hall and Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall , 16 at AF Rahman Hall, 24 at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, 19 at Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall, 45 at Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall and 40 at Bijoy Ekattar Hall.
DUCSU chief returning officer Prof SM Mahfuzur Rahma said, “We’ve completed all the formalities for holding credible elections. Ballot papers and boxes will be sent to all halls in time.”
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police imposed a restriction on movement of outsiders and vehicles on DU campus for 24 hours from 6 pm on Sunday ahead of the polls
No one will be allowed to enter the campus without valid identity card and no vehicle will be allowed to ply the area without DU sticker or pass, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah.
Check posts have been set up at seven entrance points of the university, while all the polling booths will be monitored by CCTV cameras, he said.
On January 23 last, DU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman announced the DUCSU election schedule.
The last election to DUCSU was held on July 6, 1990. In the last 28 years, the Dhaka University students could not cast their votes for selecting their representatives as the election process was closed.
On January 17, 2018 the High Court ordered the Dhaka University authorities to take steps to organise DUCSU elections in six months.
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 much-sought election.
Earlier, the Dhaka University authorities announced dates for holding DUCSU election for at least seven times, but they failed to hold the polls every time.