Voting centres to be placed inside student halls instead of academic buildings, despite protests from organizations claiming fair elections could be compromised within the Chhatra League occupied halls
Dhaka University (DU) authorities on Tuesday held a preparatory meeting to discuss overall preparations ahead of the polls of its central students' union (Ducsu) and hall unions.
The schedule for the Ducsu polls will be announced this week.
Although most of the active organizations have been demanding that voting centres be set up in the academic buildings, according to the Ducsu constitution the polling centres will be set up inside the halls.
The meeting was held with Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Akhtaruzzaman in the chair at Abdul Matin Chowdhury virtual class room, adjacent to the VC's office.
The VC sought everyone's co-operation in holding the Ducsu and hall unions election, said a university press release on Tuesday.
The university Pro VC (administration) Prof Mohammad Samad, treasurer Prof Kamal Uddin, Chief Returning Officer Dr SM Mahfuzur Rahman, returning officers, provosts of different dorms, proctors, and assistant proctors were present in the meeting.
Dr SM Mahfuzur Rahman said: "We did not take any decision today. The schedule for Ducsu polls will be announced this week. Voting centres will be set up in the halls as per the constitution.”
Earlier on January 29, the university syndicate took a final decision on the Ducsu constitution and electoral code of conduct.
According to the amended constitution, current students of honours, masters and MPhil –both residential and non-residential students who were enrolled into the university via the first year honours admission test –who are not over 30 years of age at the time of the election schedule announcement would be able to vote and contest in the polls, slated for March 11.
However, those who did not graduate from Dhaka University would not get that opportunity. The Syndicate decided to setup polling boths inside the halls and fixed anage limit of 30 for the candidates of the Ducsu polls.
The Syndicate body also decided that the evening program students, other program students, doctoral students and affiliated college students could not participate in the election.
However, a portion of students from evening and other master's courses would be allowed to take part in the Ducsu election as candidates and voters, provided they met the two criteria, said the chief returning officer.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and left-wing student organizations think Ducsu polling stations should be set up at the academic buildings and not in the halls for the sake of holding fair elections, as all the halls are forcibly occupied by the ruling party student wing Chhatra League.
Almost all the organizations except Chhatra Songram Parishad led by Chhatra League have been protesting the authority's decision of setting up polling stations inside the halls,rejecting the student bodies’ demands.
Quota reformists who want to participate in the election also gave a memorandum to the VC on January 4, seeking the election booths be set up outside the halls.