As the January 7, 2024, national parliamentary election approaches, Dhaka University’s usually bustling campus is witnessing a mass exodus. Ahead of the election, the university expedited final examinations across various departments. Consequently, a majority of students have vacated the halls, leaving behind only those engaged in job preparations or part-time employment.
A postgraduate student, expressed his surprise at the deserted campus, a sight he had only seen during Eid vacations. “Since I arrived on campus, I’ve never seen it so empty,” he said. He recalled the 2018 national election period, noting that the campus had been much livelier then.
The impact of this exodus extends to campus businesses as well. Several hall canteens and shops are fac-ing closure due to the reduced student presence.
A shop owner at Muktijoddha Ziaur Rahman Hall, plans to shut his shop in early January and will leave for his hometown of Chandpur.
The canteen manager at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall noted the unusual scale of the de-crease in student numbers. “We typically prepare meals for 700 to 750 students. Now, it’s around 300,” he said, adding that he too plans to leave for Chandpur to vote.
A student from Ziaur Rahman Hall said the closure of the new canteen, known for its superior food quality, and the challenges of relying on the older canteen. “Most shops are closing, and even tea is hard to get, so it is better to leave the hall,” he said.