Candidates independently vying for the March 11 Dhaka University Students’ Union and hall students’ union polls are confident that they will brave the dominance of the ruling and other party-backed student organisations.
However, student bodies have expressed grave concern over the university administration’s ‘partial’ role as well as polls-time security issues.
Till Saturday, at least 13 panels were formed for the DUCSU polls. Of them, three panels comprised of general students are in the race independently.
Talking to New Age, independent candidates said that they would run for their victory with the support of general students who were frustrated with activities of the politically affiliated student bodies.
Swatantra Jote-nominated vice-president post contender Auroni Semonti Khan, a genetic engineering and biotechnology student, is hopeful about bagging support from the general students, especially the resident students who are being suppressed by the ruling party-backed students.
‘In the recent past movements at DU, Swatantra Jote candidates have proved their capability. We can mobilise general students for their right causes. If elected, we will bargain with the university administration for serving students’ interests,’ Auroni said.
Reduction of extra fees, transparent process of teacher’s recruitment and students’ evaluation, digitised administrative procedures, good governance in student residence facilities, increased research budget and regular testing of meals are among the 22-point election manifestos of Swatantra Jote contesting the polls with 25 candidates.
Swadhikar Swatantra Parishad would vie the polls with nine candidates including for one for general secretary post. Activists of the platform spearheaded the recent movements for DUCSU election which remained postponed for 28 years.
Swadhikar’s election manifesto highlights amendment to the Dhaka University Act 1973 to make the DU top policy making body student-friendly, cancellation of fines on student’s class attendance, formation of judicial board to check student rights violation, modernisation of health and meal facilities, among others.
Swadhikar-backed general secretary post contender ARM Asifur Rahman, a mass communication and journalism student, expressed his doubt about a free and fair polls as, according to him, DU administration was favouring the ruling student organisation.
Suspecting plots by the DU administration which imposed restriction on journalists’ free movement during the polls, Asifur demanded open access so that journalists, DU alumni and guardians of students could observe the polls.
Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakshan Parishad was formed last year to spearhead quota reformation movement. The platform organisers also organised student movement against DU question paper leakage.
Central organisers of the platform are contesting the polls with 15 candidates to end ruling students’ suppression of general students.
The platform-nominated vice-president contender MD Nurul Haque, also an English department student, alleged that ruling student body organisers, even an influential Awami League leader, were spreading fake news defaming the key candidates of the platform.
Citing their several failed attempts to sue the ruling students, Nurul said, ‘No complaint against the ruling students as well as the DU administration was accepted. Hence, we are now seeking for the general students’ mandate. If elected, we will try to address general students’ grievances.’
Independent panels in the female dormitories have attracted general students’ attention.
Five resident students of Ruqayyah Hall have formed an independent panel named Ruquayyah Parishad to contest the hall union polls.
Gender and women studies student Mousumi, also hall union vice-president post candidate backed by the platform, said she, if elected, would fight against sexual harassment and stalking faced by female students.