Ignoring the demand of most of the student bodies, the Dhaka University authorities yesterday announced the schedule of elections to Ducsu and hall unions saying the polls will be held on March 11 with polling centres set up at the dormitories.
“The voting will be held from 8:00am till 2:00pm, inside the dormitories,” Prof Mahfuzur Rahman, chief returning officer for the elections, said while reading out the schedule before the media at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.
Students can submit written applications to the returning officers of respective halls by February 18 for any corrections to the draft voter list published on ducsu.du.ac.bd.
The final list will be published on the website on February 20, Prof Mahfuzur said.
The distribution of nomination papers for 25 posts will begin on February 19 and continue until February 25. The last date of nomination paper submission is February 26.
Anyone can withdraw candidacy till 1:00pm on March 2 while the final list of candidates will be published on March 3. The supplementary voter list will be published on March 5.
Since the formal dissolution of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) in 1998, several attempts have been made to arrange the election but all in vain.
The last polls to Ducsu and hall unions took place in 1990.
On January 17 last year, the High Court ordered the DU authorities to take steps to hold the elections in six months. The university last month announced the elections will be held on March 11.
Student leaders welcomed the decision to finally hold the polls but demanded the authorities ensure coexistence of all organisations and set up polling stations at the academic buildings.
After yesterday's announcement, the activists of Progressive Students' Alliance, a platform of left student bodies, brought out a procession on the campus protesting “the one-sided Ducsu schedule”.
“The ruling party's student wing has been favoured in the schedule as the authorities did not take initiatives to set up polling centres at the academic buildings, ignoring the demand of most of the student bodies,” Chhatra Union President Liton Nandi said at a rally after the procession.
Talking to The Daily Star later, Liton said they want to participate in the polls but they doubt if there will be a fair election in this situation.
BNP-backed Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal demanded a fresh schedule keeping polling centres at the academic buildings.
Dormitories at the university are occupied by pro-ruling Awami League student body Chhatra League, said Al Mehedi Talukder, DU unit president of Chhatra Dal.
“Besides, there is no coexistence of all student bodies on the campus. The DU authorities are conspiring to hold a one-sided election,” added Mehedi.
Earlier on January 29, different left-leaning student bodies and Chhatra Dal came down hard on the DU syndicate after it decided to set up polling stations at student dormitories.
Only Chhatra League hailed the syndicate decision.
On February 7, Chhatra Dal submitted a memorandum to DU Vice Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman, demanding a safe environment for polls and calling for postponement of the election for three months.