Trial of EC, united movement on minimum points urged

Trial of EC, united movement on minimum points urged

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Left political leaders, media workers and rights group activists on Thursday said while the government has lost a golden opportunity to demonstrate through the just concluded city elections its will and ability to hold credible elections, the election commission has proved its incapacity to hold even small society group elections.
Taking part at an opinion exchange meeting organised by the Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh at the National Press Club in Dhaka some of them even demanded trial of the Election Commission for shrugging its responsibility as a constituent body and instead behaving like a beneficiary of the whims and caprices of the executive. The session was presided over by Saiful Haque, general secretary of RWPB.In an introductory paper presented at the meeting on behalf of RWPB its central leader Bahni Shikha Jamali said the people of Bangladesh will have to prepare for another war of liberation to rebuild the country on the spirit of democracy based on equality and non-communalism through transformation of the prevailing ‘undemocratic state, government and constitution’.
Kafi Ratan, CPB-BSD mayoral candidate for Dhaka north Kafi Ratan said the last election was a preplanned machination of distribution of votes by pro-government activists through rigging to secure election of official candidates. Votes were not counted at the centres and results, as announced, gave interesting reflections of last minute bid to show some balance in the total count. His workers were beaten up with iron rods and he himself was attacked for murder, Kafi Ratan alleged.
Shampa Basu, councillor candidate against women’s reserved seats in Dhaka south said her agents were driven away from polling booths and she saw polling officers themselves helping with the rigging by giving sealed ballot papers to pro-AL election agents to put into ballot boxes. On being asked why they were rigging the election themselves some polling officers said they ‘have no other option’.
Zonaed Saki, mayoral candidate of Gono Sanghati Andolan for Dhaka north said the Election Commission had power to bring the army to the scene, which it did not. It also refrained from challenging the questionable role of police for which in papers it was competent enough to secure voting right of the people.
Khandakar Bazlur Rashid candidate for Dhaka south said the city elections of 28 April can be compared with the Magura by-election of the early nineties following which the Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina had started the movement for election under caretaker government.
Badiul Alam Majumder, general secretary of Sushasoner Jonye Nagorik spoke on different irregularities in the election which the Election Commission was mute spectator. The EC requires not only to be reconstituted but also brought to trial for its neglect of duty despite being a constitutional body as per the law.
Mosherefa Mishu of the Democratif Left Alliance complained that those in the corridors of power were on the road to ‘dectatorship and fascism’. Democracy cannot be restored in the country without ending this system of governance, she added.
Prof. Anu Mohammad said instead of calling these manipulated city elections more credible option for the government would have been to appoint three mayors for Dhaka and Chittagong. Describing stories of rigging plans during the elections he said there were clashes between pro-AL activists too as in some cases they did not know one in five people engaged to stuff votes for the Bnp-backed candidates too. Only the voters were deceived, he added.
Editor of GreenWatch Dhaka said many people knew beforehand that those in the ruling party had made up their mind to get the results in their favour by any means; all others understood this after seeing the rigging in the election centres. He said left parties that by nature did not have vested interests should play catalytic roles for democratic transformation, as they did in past democratic movements, and overtime strengthen their popular bases.
Engr Inamul Haque said there should be no confusion about the fact that after the election riggings of January 05, April 28, the rule of one person, absolute subordination of all state organs, the forces of coercion to the executive and the lack of independence of the judiciary there was no democracy in the country now. Leftists should chart their programmes of action from this perspective.
Advocate Hasanat Qayyum said that mere call for another war of liberation would mean little if the left parties specifically identify the problems in the political system and pinpoint the solutions and the immediate and long-terms objectives of their politics. – Staff Reporter

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