The long-awaited election to the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union is going to be held on March 11 after the student platform remaining dysfunctional for nearly three decades.
DU Vice Chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman, also ex officio president of DUCSU, announced the voting date on Wednesday after holding meetings with DU hall provosts and the DUCSU advisory committee.The VC said the DU authorities will announce the full election schedule soon.
DU students will cast their votes from 8:00am to 2:00pm on March 11.
Prof SM Mahfuzur Rahman, chief returning officer for the DUCSU election, told the daily sun they started preparation for the polls.
“We’ll declare a full election schedule as early as possible after completing a few tasks,” he said.
Bangladesh Chhatra League president Rezwanul Hoque Chowdhury Shovon expressed his happiness over the university authorities’ announcement of DUCSU election date.
He also expressed his organisation’s readiness to contest the polls.“BCL is ready to take part in this election and hopefully, this time, the election won’t be barred by any quarter,” he said while talking to the daily sun.
The leader of the ruling Awami League’s student wing assured that they will assist the authorities concerned in ensuring co-existence of students of different student fronts on the campus for a participatory election.
DU unit president of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal Al Mahdi Talukdar said the authorities are yet to ensure co-existence of student bodies on the campus.
“We’ve already raised our demands, but the authorities are yet to solve the issue,” he said.
The leader of the BNP’s student front said many changes are needed in the DUCSU constitution before its polls.
Mahdi hoped that DU authorities will take effective measures to ensure participation of all student bodies in the electoral race.
DU unit president of Chattra Federation Umme Habiba Benzir welcomed the authorities concerned for announcing the election date.
Though schedules for DUCSU election had been announced several times, then vice chancellors failed to hold the polls due to ‘lack of a fair atmosphere’ on the campus.
On January 6, the Supreme Court vacated its earlier order that stayed a High court ruling asking the DU authorities to take necessary steps to hold DUCSU election.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order after hearing on a leave-to-appeal petition against the High Court order.
Earlier on October 1 last, the chamber judge of Appellate Division stayed the HC order and sent the petition to the full bench for hearing.
A writ petition was filed by 25 DU students in March 2012 seeking order to compel the authorities concerned to arrange a DUCSU election.
After hearing on the petition, the HC asked the DU authorities to take necessary steps within the next six months to hold an election.
Later, on September 4, Manzill Murshid, lawyer for the students, served a contempt of court notice to the DU vice-chancellor and two others seeking their explanation as to why they did not take steps to hold the DUCSU election.
On September 12, a contempt of court plea was filed with the HC against VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman, proctor AKM Golam Rabbani and treasurer Kamal Uddin for not taking steps to arrange a DUCSU election in compliance with its earlier directives. Later, the DU authorities filed the leave-to-appeal petition against the HC order on September 16 last and the Supreme Court on January 6 vacated its earlier order and cleared the way to hold an election.
Afterwards, all-out preparations are underway to hold the polls by March after a break of three decades following a SC order to hold the election. An election to the DUCSU, which was once considered as a breeding ground of politics, was last held on June 6, 1990. As part of the preparations, the DU authorities have appointed chief returning officer and returning officers in the last few weeks.
The DUCSU constitution amendment committee, code of conduct formulation committee and advisory committee were formed while the authority also held meetings with students’ organisations, journalists and socio-cultural bodies of the university.
The university also took measures to create a congenial atmosphere on the campus to hold a free, fair and acceptable election.
The authorities also issued a notice on Sunday, asking non-students and outsiders to vacate the dormitories ahead of the election.
DU students who completed their post-graduation and are staying at the dormitories were asked to complete necessary formalities to vacate their seats.
A meeting of Paribesh Parishad, a council comprising the university authorities and the representatives of students’ organisations, was held on Monday to dwell on the amendment DUCSU constitution and the code of conduct for the polls.
DUCSU election was held 36 times after its inception during the 1922-1923 session. But, the student parliament election came to a stop after the fall of HM Ershad’s dictatorship in 1990.
After the finish of the Ershad era, eight vice-chancellors performed their duties, but no DUCSU polls were held.