Leaders of different student organisations yesterday sat for discussion with a Dhaka University (DU) committee to provide their recommendations for an amendment, if necessary, to the constitution of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu), but failed to reach any decision.
A number of student leaders suggested curtailing the power of the Ducsu president (Vice Chancellor of the university) to ensure a balance among other post holders, including vice president and hall union leaders.
BNP-backed Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) demanded ensuring a level playing field for all student platforms on campus, Awami league-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) proposed ensuring participation of regular students in Ducsu up to masters, while leftist student platform Bangladesh Chhatra Union opted for enhancing participation up to MPhil, sources from the respective organisations told The Daily Star.
The last Ducsu election was held in 1990. No election was held in the last 28 years, though a constitutional amendment was brought in 1998. However, the Supreme Court (SC) order delivered on January 6 has made it compulsory to hold an election.
On September 15 last year, after a meeting with representatives of student organisations, DU Vice Chancellor MD Akhtaruzzaman said the Ducsu polls might be held by March 2019.
Amidst repeated calls for an election, DU held the meeting at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury senate building of DU with Dr Mizanur Rahman, convener of the committee, in the chair to bring amendment to the Ducsu constitution.
“We are yet to take any final decision; we intend to reach a solution at the next meeting on January 14. Student leaders have been asked to rethink all the issues,” said Dr Rahman, Professor at the Law Department of DU.
He said that a written proposal will be sent to the authorities soon as per suggestions of student leaders to amend the constitution.
Leaders of Chhatra Union said that DU VC, as a nominated president of Ducsu, has been given power to dissolve the executive body any time as per article 5(a) of the constitution. No verdict of court will be implemented over the decision of VC regarding the election results; such rules are curbing democratic values. They demanded curtailing the VC's power.
Leaders from other organisations, including BCL and JCD, also suggested establishing a balance of power among all posts.
Chhatra Union also proposed installing separate polling stations for residential and non-residential students to ensure their right to vote.
JCD DU unit president Al Mehedi Talukder said that he had proposed to ensure presence of all organisations on campus, before the election.
“If authorities fail to ensure a level playing field, we will not take part in the election,” he said, adding that JCD activists are being barred from entering DU campus by ruling party's student wing BCL.
Bangladesh Student Federation's (BSF) DU unit president Umme Habiba Benjir also demanded a level playing field.
When asked about JCD's claim, BCL's DU unit president Sanjit Chandra Das told The Daily Star, “All student platforms are present on campus and are carrying out their respective political programmes. However, we cannot tolerate anarchy on campus.”
BCL General Secretary Saddam Hossain proposed to impose a ban on politics of any organisation involved in serving the interest of war criminals. He also proposed to create a new post titled “Liberation War Affairs Secretary" in Ducsu and to ensure women empowerment in the executive body.
Ducsu was dissolved in 1998. Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal's Amanullah Aman and Khairul Kabir Khokan panel won the last election and continued to be leaders of the student body until its dissolution.