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Ducsu polls underway

  • Published at 03:21 am March 11th, 2019
Voters are preparing to cast their votes in the polling centres, on March 11,2019 Mehedi Hasan

After a 28 year hiatus, the election is being held

The Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) and hall union elections are underway.

The voting began around 8am on Monday and will continue till 2pm.

Prof  Zia Rahman, provost and returning officer of Ziaur Rahman Hall, said: "The election is underway in a peaceful environment. Students have queued up in numbers to exercise their franchise.”

"However, voting is a bit slow due to the shortage of space at the polling booth,” he said.

A total of 42,923 voters under the age of 30 from 18 halls of Dhaka University (DU) will be eligible to cast their votes to elect representatives to 25 central positions and 13 hall union posts.

DU students will have to show their identity cards to exercise their franchise at the polls. The results will be announced later in the day. Special arrangements have been made so that visually-impaired students can also cast their votes.

The authorities have imposed a limit of two journalists from each print media outlet and four from each electronic media outlet for covering tomorrow’s historic polls, without specifying any reason for doing so.

Furthermore, live telecast, online streaming, and the carrying of mobile phones or other electronic devices have been banned in polling centres.

Also Read- All sides believe turnout key to free, fair polls

According to the final list published by the chief returning officer's office, a total of 229 candidates are contesting for 25 central positions, including 21 people for vice president, 14 for general secretary and 13 for assistant general secretary.

Voters are standing in a queue, waiting for their turn to cast their votes in Ducsu election, on March 11, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan In addition, 11 candidates are contesting for the Liberation War secretary post, nine each for the science and technology secretary and common room and cafeteria secretary posts, 11 for the international affairs secretary post, 8 for the literary secretary post, 12 for the cultural secretary post, 11 for the sports secretary post, 10 for the student transport secretary post, 14 for the social welfare secretary post and 86 for the member posts.

In the hall union elections, a total of 509 candidates are contesting for 13 positions in each of the 18 halls.

Candidates contesting the Ducsu polls

From the Chhatra League panel, Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, Golam Rabbani and Saddam Hussain are contesting for the posts of vice-president, general secretary and assistant general secretary, respectively. Their counterparts from Chhatra Dal are Rahman, Anisur Rahman and Khorshed Alam Sohel, while Liton Nandi, Faisal Mahmud and Sadekul Islam are contesting for the posts from the leftist alliance.

From the Bangladesh Students’ Rights Protection Council, the platform which led the quota reform movement, Nurul Huq Nur, Mohammad Rashed Khan and Faruk Hussain are contesting for the vice-president, general secretary and assistant general secretary posts, respectively. Auroni Semonti Khan, Shafi Abdulla and Amit Paramanik are contesting for the posts from the Independent Alliance.

Also Read- Panels contesting for Ducsu posts at a glance

Among the independent candidates, Dhaka University Journalists Association President ARM Asifur Rahman and Bangladesh Chhatra Federation DU chapter President Umme Habiba Benozir are contesting for the central general secretary post. Abu Raihan Khan is contesting for the central assistant general secretary post from the independent platform Sadhikar Sotontro Jote.

Ban on vehicles, live telecast and streaming 

The movement of 11 types of vehicles, with the exception of vehicles with special passes from the authorities concerned, is restricted on the DU premises during the Ducsu and hall union elections. Archways and metal detectors have been installed at every voting centre.

Special security measures have been taken at the three entrances – the Nilkhet, Shahbagh and High Court gates – of the university. Only voters and election officials carrying proper identification will be allowed to enter the campus through these gates during the polls.

Students will be able to use designated vehicles, and outsiders have been asked to avoid the the university area and use separate routes to commute on election day, till 10pm.

Media workers are allowed to enter guest rooms or designated areas in the voting centres, through the use of proper identification issued by the chief returning officer (CRO). However, live streaming or telecast directly from the voting centres is prohibited.

Moreover, all electronic devices, including cell phones, are banned inside the voting centres.

Ducsu in history

Ducsu was formed a year after DU was established in 1921. Student leaders of the university were at the forefront of the Language and Independence movements.

Although Ducsu elections are supposed to be held every year, there have only been six since the independence of Bangladesh. The polls were not held more frequently as successive university administrations and governments reportedly attempted to maintain their dominance on the DU campus.

University authorities had reneged on their promise to hold the election time and again since Ducsu was formally dissolved on May 28, 1998.

The last Ducsu election was held on June 6, 1990, during the tenure of former military dictator and current main opposition in parliament HM Ershad as president. The student body later played a crucial role in ousting the dictator.

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