Nomination form distribution begins Monday
Left leaning student bodies on Monday besieged the Dhaka University (DU) Vice-Chancellor’s office, with the aim of pressing home their six-point demand on the DU Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) election scheduled for March 11.
Leaders and activists of the Progressive Student Alliance and Anti-Imperialist Student Unity brought out a procession from DU’s Madhur Canteen before taking position outside the VC’s office. DU VC Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman was not in his office at the time.
The demands include setting up polling centres at academic buildings instead of dorms during the election, as well as scrapping the age limit for candidacy, allowing those who pay Ducsu and hall union fees to contest the polls, allowing candidates to campaign in classrooms, allotting seats in dormitories on the basis of merit, and allowing former leaders of Ducsu to take part in electioneering.
Claiming that the DU administration has been giving Awami League backed student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League preferential treatment, Progressive Student Alliance convener Iqbal Kabir said: “The DU administration has ignored the demands of most student organizations, and are adamant to set up polling centres inside halls to facilitate the Chhatra League.”
Meanwhile, Chhatra League formed a human chain in front of the DU Central Library, demanding that the library be modernized and turned into a multi-storey.
Chhatra Dal, Chhatra League showdown
DU’s Madhur Canteen turned to chaos on Monday, due to a showdown between activists of the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and the Chhatra League.
Although there was no violence, both groups chanted slogans and counter slogans at one another.
Speaking to reporters, Chhatra Dal Central General Secretary Akramul Hasan said they would wage a tougher movement and not collect nomination forms if the DU authorities did not realize their demands, which include ensuring political coexistence on the campus and in dormitories.
JSD Chhatra League demands polls postponement
At a program in front of Madhur Canteen, JSD Chhatra League demanded that the Ducsu polls be deferred by 15 days, to ensure the political co-existence of all organizations on the campus.
The student body declared their own panel for the polls, but also said they may participate under the Bangladesh Chhatra League-led Chhatra Sangram Parishad depending on discussions.
Students form independent panel
During a press conference at the TSC cafeteria, a group of DU students declared that they had formed an independent panel to contest the Ducsu and hall union polls.
Reading out a written statement, DU genetic engineering and biotechnology department student Auroni Semonti Khan said they would contest the polls under the banner Swatantra Jote (Independent Alliance).
Declining to reveal the full panel, Auroni said the names of panel members would be announced gradually for the sake of security.
The panel will not form alliances with any student organizations that are backed by political parties, but welcomes discussions with quota reformists, she added.
As per the election schedule announced on February 11, nomination forms for the Ducsu polls can be collected from February 19-25.
The last Ducsu election was held on June 6, 1990, when General HM Ershad was president. The student body played a significant role in ousting the dictator.