Dhaka, Bangladesh
DUCSU election Mar 11

DUCSU election Mar 11

Voting in residential halls, finally

News Report Pro-government students hailed while their rivals still stuck to their plea for deferment for creating a congenial atmosphere as March 11 was announced Monday as the date for DUCSU elections. As per decision unveiled with the schedule for holding the long-overdue elections to Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU) and its hall unions, the voting will, finally, take place at the polling booths in respective residential halls of the varsity. Chief Returning Officer Prof Mahfuzur Rahman announced the election schedule at Nawab Nabab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban. "The voting will take place from 8 am to 2pm inside residential halls of the university," he said. The daft list of voters will be announced today while the final one on February 20, Mahfuzur Rahman said. As per the schedule, the distribution of nomination papers will begin on February 19 and continue till February 25, while the last date for the submission of nomination papers is February 26. The withdrawal of candidature is March 2 while the final candidacy list will be published on March 3, while the supplementary voter list on March 5. The last election to DUCSU--considered Bangladesh's second parliament and a sanctuary for grooming national politicians--was held way back on July 6 in 1990, at the fag-end of Ershad era. In the last 28 years, the Dhaka University students could not cast their vote for choosing their representatives as the election process remained stalled even after the restoration of elective democracy, analysts point out. On January 17, 2018 the High Court ordered the Dhaka University authorities to take steps to organise DUCSU elections in six months' time. But the Supreme Court later had issued an order of stay. On January 6, the Supreme Court vacated its earlier order, paving the way for holding the student-union vote. On November 1, 2018 the DU authorities published the draft voter list for the election, which came in a package of elections and by-elections following the December-30 parliament election that brought massive win for the ruling Awami League. Dhaka North City Corporation mayoral by-election and phased upazila polls are among the post-parliament elections. Opposition BNP-backed JCD, which had been banished from the campus for years allegedly following actions by activists of the AL student associate, Bangladesh Chhatra League, made a comeback on the DU campus by virtue of the election move. But they sought time to get set in halls and create "a congenial atmosphere for coexistence of all". They and left student bodies and a common platform of students emerged from recent job-quota-and safe-road movements also wanted a deferment as well as voting outside the dorms, preferably in the administrative buildings. There were instant processions on the campus hailing and seeking deferment of the schedule as well as peaceful atmosphere. Meanwhile, BNP leaders Monday said holding a 'free and fair election to DUCSU by avoiding the parliament election-type polls is a challenge". Party leaders Nazrul Islam Khan and Major (rtd) Hafizuddin Ahmed aired the scepticism after the announcement of the schedule. However, the university authorities repeated their assurances that the long-cherished ballot would be held in a fair manner with the participation of all active student organizations. Inputs taken from agencies, media reports

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