We are finally on the verge of witnessing an election of the Dhaka University's Ducsu (Dhaka University Central Students' Union), which would be the first democratic exercise of the iconic student body in nearly three decades.
With all major student organisations poised to contest the election, the prospect is certainly a promising one. The atmosphere and mood in the campus have so far been amicable. Press reports carried photos depicting a friendly meeting between leaders of Chhatra League, the pro-ruling party organisation, and Chhatra Dal, the opposition-linked student group.
However, there are signs of discord between Chhatra League and almost all other student groups over the decision to set up poll booths in student dormitories that are dominated by the pro-ruling party student organisation. Even the Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, an apolitical organisation that led the anti-quota movement, has voiced concerns and expressed doubt whether the decision would be helpful to conduct a fair poll.
Ducsu, established in 1922, has had a glorious history. Its leaders played a critical role in national movements that eventually led to the creation of Bangladesh. Ducsu always reflected the democratic aspiration of the people of Bangladesh. Yet, unfortunately and ironically, its democratic exercise ceased when a democratic system was restored in the country in the 90s.
Now that the system of election has made a comeback in the campus, if the election is found to be tainted with allegations of irregularities, it would cause irreparable damage to the image of the country's premier student body. Therefore, it is imperative that the university authorities live up to the expectations of the students of Dhaka University and set an example by holding an election that would reflect the aspirations of all the students.