Hopes and doubts on DUCSU polls

New Age Youth | Published: 00:00, Feb 03,2019


University of Dhaka authority fixed March 11 for Dhaka University Central Students’ Union polls. Students share their thoughts on the upcoming DUCSU polls with New Age Youth 

Abdullah Al Mamun
Jadavpur University

IT IS almost three decades that Du has failed to hold DUCSU election and from the year 1998 there has been literally no official representatives from the students. Although this University has a long history of fighting against imperial tyranny, oppression, and autocracy during 1952, 1969, 1971 and 1990, it is a matter of sorrow that this authority failed to continue that legacy. As per the recent political experience, it does not let people think going beyond that experience even when it is ‘merely’ an election of the students of a university.

When it comes to the point of ‘participatory’ election, December 30, 2018 is the latest experience to think of what that can be. It was nothing but a nocturnal expedition by the ruling government of Bangladesh and who will be free of suspicion that their very students wing, Bangladesh Chaatra League, is not going to maintain that practice once again? At least their recent anti-people and anti-student stances in Road Safety Movement and Quota Reform Movement let us think so. Besides, the formation of election commission for DUCSU consisting of the blue group (backed by ruling Awami League) with a single member from the pink group only (backed by left organisation) does not provide positive message to the students. With no member from the white group (backed by BNP) obviously raises the question of authenticity of the nearing DUCSU election. And ensuring a ‘level-playing field’ both in the residential halls and outside of it for all the organisations with equal space for election campaign is even too far to think of. Amidst all these disappointing factors, rise of leaders from General Students’ Rights Protection Forum is something positive that will add a new dimension to the upcoming election. Moreover, government's initiative to arrange the election is obviously worthy of appreciation. Now the thing is to notice that how far the government can fight for their appreciation and long gone ‘democracy’.

Sarker Amzad Hossain
Former student University of Dhaka

IN THE political context of Bangladesh, past experiences of DUCSU is almost undeniable, specifically working as a pipeline for grooming future political leaders. But the question is whether we need this DUCSU election as an election for election’s sake or actually want to go for a free, fair, and participatory one. In today’s political condition, it is almost impossible for the government to arrange such fair election even if they are willing to go for it. Like BNP, its student wing, Chhatra Dal, is also facing the most difficult period in its history. Currently, there hardly exists any organisationally strong student group who can be an actual challenge to Bangladesh Chaatra League BCL. Yet in this upcoming ‘one sided’ and ‘controlled’ DUCSU election, the uprising of non-political students group General Students’ Rights Protection Forum has been able to add an extra stimulus because they do have a huge acceptance among students. Nonetheless, it is a matter of thought that how far other groups can be organisationally prepared and strong enough for BCL. And we have seen that reflection in the measures taken by university authority and election commission which is obviously a matter of concern. Among them, holding polls at residential halls on the denial of other groups, which they believe to be in supreme control of BCL, no balance and equality can be ensured. In this present environment of ‘controlled democracy’ in Bangladesh, is it going to be a repetition of 30th December national election, a questionable and burdensome election? Or, DUCSU election on 11th March 2019 will help to claim its prestigious history and legacy?

Abdus Sami
Bangladesh University of Professionals

UNDER recent circumstances, any public election in Bangladesh is questionable. Though DUCSU election is not a public one, but the importance of this is so high that it is hard to rule it out. The future leaders of our country will emerge from the elected students of this election, at least historically. As our existing government is ruling the country for the last decade and are good for the next five years too, so their student wing BCL is enjoying absolute power and influence in country's student politics; furthermore their grasp over the DU campus is very high. On the other hand, left leaning and progressive thinking student organisations have very little influence in the student politics of DU campus than the past. We've seen the dominant character of BCL in the recent movements in DU campus when it came to disperse those movements through muscle, and I do not think under any circumstance, this scenario will change magically. The ruling party student wing will use their full influence and all machines to win in this election and the question of a free and fair election, once again, will be a big hoax.

Md Tarek Aziz Bappi
University of Dhaka

FROM past experiences we can assume that in case of organising a minimum fair election in DUCSU at least two basic prerequisites must be fulfilled. One, pre-election time’s apt environment that includes fear and oppression free coexistence of all parties, ensuring level playing fields for election campaigning and neutral role of university administration. Two, on the election day there must be a congenial circumstances that include rigging and forgery free voting and fare results; to ensure that administration must confirm voters’ security, ballot boxes’ security, presence and freedom of media, CCTV coverage, keeping polling centres in academic buildings instead of residential halls in current context and ensuring strict law enforcing systems.

Now, let’s come to the reality! After 30 December’s national election, how can I remain hopeful about a university students’ union election? Under the rule of such a leviathan government, how this election can be free, fair and legitimate where election stakeholders like law enforcing agencies, university administration et cetera are devoted to ruling party’s students organisation? Now I request to the administration to arrange a fair election and let us choose our student leaders if you have courage; otherwise, please do not do anything like ‘by hook or crook’ type election through scandalising the glory of DUCSU.

Ishtiak Hossain
University of Rajshahi

THOUGH we saw some conflicts and violence which are done by people of the ruling party during the last election, so, it's natural to be concerned about the upcoming DUCSU election, whether it will be fair or not. But I think, it's actually not like national election, it will be monitored by the varsity authority and there is no scope to do something like that happened during the last national election. So I think it'll be a fair election. It should also be mentioned here that young generation believes in our great liberation war, they follows the footprints of the father of our nation. BCL is considered as the organisation which is made by the hands of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. So it is possible to give the key of future leadership to BCL by the young people of University of Dhaka DU.

And again I would like to mention here that, students of DU have a reputation to unite against any unfair or illegal activities. So if there is any possibility of unfair or illegality in DUCSU election, I think they will prevent that. Thus we are optimistic about a free and fair DUCSU election.

University of Dhaka

AFTER HC verdict and shattering ‘fear of violence’, DU is going to hold DUCSU Polls first time in last three decades. Not long ago we had a one-sided ‘free and fair’ national election without any level playing field. And make no mistake, the same situation prevails in the Dhaka University campus. Except for BCL, we hardly saw any activities of other major political parties lately. As the majority of the returning officers and disciplinary committee members for the upcoming DUCSU election ‘happen’ to be supporters of the ruling party, it’s highly unlikely that the responsible authority will remain neutral during the polls. The authority should ensure that every organisation should carry out their programs on the campus without any fear of being tormented. And we doubt that's not going to happen if we take account of recent incidents. To have an inclusive election, the DU authority should ensure the democratic atmosphere for every student bodies in the campus. That’s maybe wishful thinking, the best we can do for now.





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