Contestants in Dhaka University Central Students’ Union polls, scheduled for March 11, on Wednesday demanded extension of voting time. Opposition rivals of Bangladesh Chhatra League-backed Sammilita Shiksharthi Sangsad suspect that the ruling Awami League-backed student organisation and the university administrations were hatching plot to stage one-sided polls.
A total of 42,923 students of the university would cast their votes from 8:00am to 2:00pm on March 11 to choose their representatives at central student union and hall unions. The candidates expressed their concerns as each of the electors has to cast 38 votes for DUCSU and hall unions, which would require at least three minutes.
Independent candidate for DUCSU general secretary post ARM Asifur Rahman, talking to New Age, said it would be impossible to cast most of the votes if the voting time was not extended. He alleged that the university administration from the very beginning was favouring a particular student organisation without paying any heed to the logical demands of others.
Chhatra Federation-nominated general secretary candidate Umme Habiba Benojir echoed Asif and demanded extension of the voting time. Assistant general secretary post contender Abu Raihan khan proposed that 357 polling booths be set up at the dormitories for smooth voting within the scheduled time.
Till Wednesday, Chhatra League candidates kept violating the code of conduct for the polls. They held a projection meeting on a stage set up at the foot of Aparajeyo Bangla and announced their manifesto at the event.
BCL-backed vice-president candidate Rezwanul Hauqe Chowdhury Shovon introduced his panel members to the audience while general secretary candidate Golam Rabbani, assistant general secretary Saddam Hussain and chairman of the BCL electioneering committee Sanjit Chandra Das, among others, were present.
As per the section 7 of the code of conducts, no candidate or student organisation will build any gate, campaign office, camp, pandal, stage or eliminate any infrastructure for campaigning. Assistant general secretary nominee from BCL’ panel Saddam Hussain claimed that the projection meeting was not held on a stage.
‘It was the basement of the monument. We held the meeting upon permission of the chief returning officer,’ he said.
However, the university authorities could not be reached over phone after repeated attempts for their comments in this regard. A banned militant outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir on Tuesday night allegedly pasted posters on the walls of Madhu’s canteen of the university, urging general students to boycott DUCSU polls. Student organisation activists later removed the posters.
On Wednesday, candidates were seen distributing leaflets at Art Building, Curzon Hall, Science Annex premises and the dormitories.
A total of 229 candidates are contesting for 25 posts in DUCSU where 21 candidates are vying for the vice-president post, 14 for general secretary and 13 for assistant general secretary post.