The much sought-after Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) election was held recently with all sections of the society taking a keen interest in the process amid some hiccups. Held after nearly three decades, some hiccups are only natural and now the time is to leave those behind and go forward in the interest of the students.
We must take note of the positives and not get stuck with the negatives. Although none of the issues creating some uneasy feelings, if true, should not have happened. But again, let the past be past.The DUCSU election was held just a week ago and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited all the central and hall elected officials at Ganabhaban in a possible move, as the supreme guardian, to calm the angry mood of the members of the Bangladesh General Students Rights Protection Forum (BGSRPF) members, who have been demanding fresh elections. One, who knows the premier, can safely predict that her charisma will conquer all DUCSU problems.
The election sprung an historical surprise when two central posts went to the BGSRPF, grouping general students and those who had campaigned on the government job quota movement. Rest of the posts were won by the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling Awami League. Quota reformist Nurul Haq Nur secured 11,062 votes.
The other hero was BCL president Rezwanul Haque Shovon. Stunned at being beaten by a novice student politician, yet kept his cool. The premier reportedly also advised him to ensure peace. The cameras clicked as Shovon embraced his former rival Nurul Haq Nur and said “we will work together and I with you.” He also asked his supporters to quietly accept the poll verdict and ensure quick start of classes.
Nurul, who can certainly pride himself of winning the post of VP as it indicates his huge popularity among the general students, withdrew action plans to push home the group’s demand for a re-poll alleging rigging.
Thus the two rivals have taken the right decision – to move forward accepting the outcome of the election in the interest of the general students who come to this university, once called the Oxford of the East, fighting a tough competition in their entrance exam.
Nurul, inexperienced in any kind of politics until the movement against quota in government jobs, became a star overnight, but he changed his mind frequently causing confusion, even for journalists. But he indicated to the media that he will take charge as the DUCSU’s vice president.On Wednesday, Dhaka University’s Vice-chancellor and DUCSU President, Prof Akhtaruzzaman, dismissed the possibility of a re-polling and threatened students with lawsuits for any sort of unrest. As the guardian of the university’s students, the VC has his own set of issues to deal with and the main task is to ensure that the dust settles and regular classes and tests resumes in full.
In last Monday's elections, which came after 28 years, BCL got 23 of the 25 DUCSU posts.
Nurul shocked the BCL by winning the VP post by a huge margin of votes. Another quota leader also made it into the committee.
Of the 18 hall unions, 12 went to the BCL, while independents swept in most of the five female halls, where the pro-ruling party's student body has little hold.
The find of rigging is indeed unwanted and should never be repeated. The DU sets the tone of our politics and from where new leaders emerge; it is only mandatory that all must do their bit to settle the dust permanently. Those trying to fish in the dirty water must prove their love for Bangladesh and ensure peace in the DU campus.
The DUCSU polls showed that the younger generation had magnanimity of accepting the result when BCL president Shovon cheerfully embraced the winner. That is democracy we are seeking and after a prolonged military and pseudo-military rule, it is not easy to turn around quickly. At least, we are moving forward. I want to warmly thank Shovon for his gesture that ended all kinds of possibilities of violence.
For Nurul, a big congratulation as he won by a huge margin against Shovon creating history. The election was not all that bad as Nurul and his movement partner came out victorious. History shows that the major posts are won by the student wing of the ruling party.
The two young men have huge responsibilities of grooming their followers in a manner that they become honest leaders of the country imbued with the spirit of our great Independence War. They must prioritise ensuring international standard education by working with the teachers.
The teachers in turn must not allow politics that hampers education and leads to violence, but a politics of peace and patriotism. This has been a starter for holding other university elections, meaning a strengthening of the political culture and democracy from the root level.
I take pride on being a former student of the Dhaka University and very much look forward to seeing again the institution getting back its historic name – the “Oxford of the East.” Thus after ifs and buts, all is not lost.
The writer is the Consulting Editor of daily sun.