The first election to district councils was held during HM Ershad’s regime, but he no longer seems to think it matters.Speaking at a programme in Dhaka on Sunday, the Jatiya Party chairman said his party will not take part in the polls scheduled for Dec 28.”We will not participate in the district council elections. Because this election is worthless,” said the deposed dictator.”The Union Parishad elections ended in 145 deaths. We do not believe in the politics of violence.”The act passed by Ershad in 1988 had a provision for appointment of district chairperson by the government, but the law was later repealed.In 1989, direct polling was held in three hill tract districts.
Election to district councils has not been held ever since.The Awami League in 2000 drafted a new law for appointment of district chairperson by the government. Next year, district-level leaders of the Awami League were appointed to the post in 61 districts.The country’s first election for district chairman and member will be held on Dec 28 as the tenure for their unelected predecessors is set to end.Local government representatives of each district will vote to elect a chairperson and members.The BNP, which sat out the last general election, said it will not participate in the district polls. It opposed the method of the election, claiming it was ‘unconstitutional’ to elect district representatives without direct polling.BNP chief Khaleda Zia has recently made public the party’s 13-point proposal for the next Election Commission to take office from February next year.HM Ershad, speaking at Gulshan’s Emanuelle’s, said his party, now in opposition, will take part in the 2019 general election.As for the next Election Commission, he said: “There needs to be a pragmatic Election Commission following talks with parties in Parliament. Those who are not in Parliament have no right to talk about it.