DCC polls not possible in Jan, says CEC

DCC polls not possible in Jan, says CEC

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Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad on Tuesday said it is not possible to arrange polls to bifurcated Dhaka City Corporation in January next.
“Why should I hold election in January? We’ll need more time to take our preparations. Time is needed to print (updated) electoral rolls and declare the election schedule,” he told a press conference at the Election Commission media centre.The CEC came up with the reaction a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Monday’s cabinet meeting reportedly asked the authorities concerned to arrange the overdue elections to the bifurcated DCC in this winter.
The cabinet meeting also sent back a proposal that sought extension of the tenure of the administrators of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to one year from six months.
The CEC said he came to know from newspaper reports that the DCC elections will be held in January. “Now the process of updating the voter list is going on. If we want to arrange the election now, we’ll have to use old voter list. If so, five lakh fresh voters will be deprived of voting rights in the election,” he said.
As per the law, the commission shall finalise updated voter list on January 31 every year.
Kazi Rakibuddin said the commission has to consider the public examinations — SSC and HSC — as well during the announcement of the election schedule. “We avoid elections during the public examinations.”
He, however, said if the demarcation complexity of the city corporations is gone, the commission will initiate the process to arrange the polls soon.
The CEC said it is clear that the Election Commission had long been ready to arrange the DCC polls but could not hold the polls due to the proposals of extending boundaries of both the DSCC and DNCC.
EC secretary Sirazul Islam and joint secretary Jesmin Tuli were present at the press conference.
The city dwellers have not seen DCC election for more than 12 years as the last polls in the integrated city corporation were held on April 25, 2002. The five-year tenure of the elected DCC body expired on May 14, 2007.
The previous Election Commission, led by ATM Shamsul Huda, also failed to hold the polls.
On November 29, 2011, the government formed two city corporations DNCC and DSCC in the capital splitting the integrated DCC.
On April 9, 2012, CEC Rakibuddin announced the election schedules for the split DCCs, fixing May 24, 2012 as date for voting. But, a writ petition stalled the election process halfway through. Later, the court quashed the legal bar to the election on May 13, 2013.
But fresh complexities arose regarding the demarcation of the DSCC and DNCC as the Local Government Ministry proposed to extend the boundaries of city corporations. – UNB

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