Pragatisheel Chhatra Jote, an alliance of left-leaning student organisations, yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Dhaka University (DU) vice-chancellor to press home their five-point demand, including setting up polling centres outside the dormitories in the upcoming Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) election.
As part of their prescheduled programme, they brought out a procession from Madhur Canteen at around 12pm, which ended at DU VC's office.
According to the platform leaders after submitting the memorandum, VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman said he would “think” about their demands.
Other demands of the alliance include ensuring presence of all student organisations and hospitable atmosphere for practice of free thought on campus, scrapping the “guest room” and “gono room” culture and allotting seats based on merit at the dormitories, ensuring participation of those who pay Ducsu and hall union fees before the announcement of schedule, and lifting restriction on former leaders' participation in electioneering.
Talking to journalists, Chhatra Union General Secretary Liton Nandi said the provisions that were approved by the DU syndicate were “one-sided” – giving advantage to a specific organisation and ignoring demands of others.
“A code of conduct was formulated which prohibits electioneering in the classrooms. If we cannot campaign in the classrooms, how are we going to reach the large number of students who don't live in halls?” he asked.
He said they had notified Prof Akhtaruzzaman about Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader's remark on the Ducsu polls and asked to send a rejoinder.
“The remark Obaidul Quader had made is contradictory to DU's autonomy. General secretary of a political party does not have the right to say anything that goes against the autonomy of the university,” said Liton.
On February 1, Quader at a press conference at AL's party office in Dhanmondi said like in the past, the polling centres for Ducsu and hall union election would be set up in the halls.
The first election to Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) in 28 years will be held on March 11.
At a syndicate meeting on January 29, the DU authorities decided to enhance the polls participation requirement to include up to MPhil students -- aged below 30 -- who enrolled into the university through admission tests for four-year bachelor degrees, but kept the provision of setting up polling centres inside halls intact.