Bnp doubts fairness of municipal polls under present EC

Bnp doubts fairness of municipal polls under present EC

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Dhaka – BNP on Tuesday expressed doubts about the fairness of upcoming municipal polls as those are going to be held on party lines.
“The government has hurriedly announced the schedule for municipality polls. We’re in doubt whether the elections will be fair under party line,” said BNP senior leader ASM Hannan Shah.
The BNP leader said this at a discussion in the city soon after the announcement of the polls schedule by the Election Commission.
During other polls in the past, he said, the administration was seen siding with ruling party-backed candidates though those were held on non-party basis.
“This time the ruling party will directly nominate their candidates. That’s why we fear the administration may not work neutrally, blocking the path for holding free and credible polls,” the BNP leader said.
The election schedule announced by the Chief Election Commisioner Kazi Raquibuddin Ahmed showed disrict administration officials (ADCs-General) have been made returning officers in the 60 districts where elections will be held. 60 district election officers and 133 upzila (sub-district) election officers will assist them.
The opposition has a bitter experience of city corporation elections. Almost all Bnp mayors of city corporations elected during the last several elections have either been dismisses or suspended by the administration while several of them have been implicated in decade-old murder cases and taken to jails.
The Bnp had swept all city corporation elections in the first leg of urban local government elections held under the present Election Commmission and the administration. After that the keenly conested Gazipur City Corporation election was also swept by Bnp candidates. The party blamed the administration for preventing free and fair elections in the Dhaka and the Chittagong city corporation elections held on 28 April last. The coalition of local election monitoring groups in a joint press conference in Dhaka echoed the voice of the main opposition party which had taken part in the polls dramatically coming out of about a three-month-long blockade that led to a deadful confrontation with the law enforcing agencies, the rulling party and its affiliates.
Tuesday’s discussion meeting was organsed by the Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum at the Dhaka Bar Association hall in Dhaka Judge’s Court premises, marking the 51st birthday of BNP vice chairman Tarique Rahman.
Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad announced the date of elections in 234 municipalities across the country to be held on December 30.
The municipal elections will be held on party line for the first time as Parliament passed the Local Government (Municipality) (Amendment) Bill 2015 on November 19, paving the way for mayoral candidates to contest the elections with political party symbols.
Hannan Shah said ‘biased role of the Election Commission in previous elections’ made them suspicious whether there will be fair elections on December 30.
He alleged that the government is now trying to annihilate the politics of nationalist forces by repressing BNP leaders and activists and obliterating democracy.
The BNP leader urged the opposition leaders and activists to get united to restore democracy and people’s rights in the country. – News Desk

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