Likely cop-steps against contenders threat to city polls?

Likely cop-steps against contenders threat to city polls?

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Election Commissioner Md Shah Nawaz on Tuesday said the Election Commission is helpless to do anything, in case police arrest any accused candidate during the three city corporation elections slated for April 28.
“Our main task is to arrange elections, not oversee whom police will arrest. Since police does not need our permission to arrest anyone as per law, we’ve nothing to do in this regard,” he told reporters replying to a query at his office at the Election Commission Secretariat.This might be a contentious element in the debate over creating a level playing field for the election that the main opposition Bnp has demanded. It is to be recalled that the joint commissioner in charge of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said that they would take action against people facing arrest in connection with cases filed against them.
It has been reported that more than half a million Bnp leaders and workers faced several thousand cases across the country, some of them face more than a hundred cases each. No single leader of the opposition Bnp has been an exception to this. Those based in Dhaka face more cases than the leaders and workers based in the districts.
He, however, said the commission will oversee ‘unnecessary harassment’ during the elections of the city corporations –-Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Chittagong City Corporation (CCC).
Being accused in a host of cases, many BNP leaders and activists, including those who have filed nominations to run the polls, are still in hiding fearing police arrest.
Shah Nawaz said the commission will create a level-playing field for arranging elections in free and fair manner.
He said the commission and returning officers of the elections will also be sincere to curb violation of election code of conduct during the polls.
On March 18, the EC announced election schedules to the three city corporations in Dhaka and Chittagong.
A total of 1833 aspirants including 26 mayoral hopefuls in DSCC, 21 in DNCC and 13 in CCC, submitted nomination papers, which will be scrutinised on Wednesday and Thursday.
It is to be noted that Bnp leaders and activities face a huge pile of cases filed since the time of the last military-backed caretaker government. During the last six years cases filed by that government against leaders and workers of parties now in power were withdrawn on the ground of their being political in nature. Bnp being in power immediately before takeover by that caretaker government did face more cases than other parties. But the cases filed against their leaders and activists have not only remained but have been reinforced by lodging supplementary charges, said a senior Bnp leader. – News Desk

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