DU VC: Voting will be completed no matter how long it takes
Following a brief suspension, voting has resumed at the Kuwait Maitree Hall
Amid allegations of vote rigging and irregularities, Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor Professor Akhtaruzzaman has said balloting for the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) polls will continue; and be completed no matter how long it takes.
He made the remarks at a press briefing at DU’s Kuwait Maitree Hall on Monday, hours after voting in the Ducsu polls at the hall resumed, following a brief suspension.
Voting in the Ducsu and hall union elections began around 8am on Monday and will continue till 2pm.
Earlier in the day, voting at the Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall was suspended amid allegations of irregularities and vote rigging.
However, voting resumed at 11:10am and the authorities said it will continue till 5:10pm.
Provost of Kuwait Maitree Hall Professor Mahbuba Nasrin confirmed that voting restarted in the hall.
There are six voting booths at the hall, and 1920 eligible voters. However, students predict that only about 700 to 800 students might actually show up to cast their votes.
After the voting began, the DU VC said: “Students will be able to enter the hall premises till 5:10pm and no matter how late it is, we will complete voting today.”
In response to allegations that ballot boxes were found inside a hall bathroom, with Bangladesh Chhatra League’s seal on the ballot papers, the VC said they have found truth in the matter and ballots with Chhatra League pre-selected were in fact found.
Seeking to remain anonymous, an independent candidate for the post of social affairs services and welfare, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I saw Prof Sabnam walking through the hall’s backyard with multiple ballot boxes.
“Later, we found the ballot boxes inside the washroom and the reading room. Upon opening the ballot boxes, we found that votes had already been cast in favour of Chhatra League candidates.”
“We have been trying to ensure that voting here is free and fair thus the opaque ballot boxes must be checked to ensure that they are empty,” she added.
Meanwhile, students protested in front of the hall demanding justice
Chief Retuning Officer Prof Mahfuzur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune: “Our students had recovered ballot boxes with precast ballot papers. We have found evidence of vote rigging.”
Following the matter, Dhaka University authorities suspended acting provost, Dr Sabnam Jahan, of Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall, over the allegations of irregularities.
A total 42,923 voters under the age of 30, from 18 halls, are taking part in the Ducsu and hall union elections which is being held after 28 years. The last Ducsu election was held on June 6, 1990.
According to the final list published by the chief returning officer’s office, a total 229 candidates are contesting 25 central positions, including 21 for vice president, 14 for general secretary, and 13 for assistant general secretary.