Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Polls to 596 UPs in Mar 29-April 3

Parties ignore EC invitation for talks
Elections to 596 union parishads in 12 coastal districts will be held in a staggered manner between March 29 and April 3.
The chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, on Thursday announced the schedule for the first phase of union parishad polls and said that elections to the rest 3,704 union parishads would be held between third week of May and June in the second phase.
No political parties from the Awami League-led alliance or opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led coalition turned up at the Election Commission on Thursday to discuss ways to keep the upcoming union parishad polls free from political influence. The EC earlier had invited the two alliances to talks for discussions on how to keep the local elections free from political influence.
According to the schedule, candidates could submit nomination papers until March 5, which would be scrutinised in March 6-7. The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is March 13.
The number of union parishads, the lowest tier of local government, is 4,505. Polls to 205 union parishads would not be possible at the moment due to legal complexities, said an election official. The last union parishad polls were held in 2003.
The chief election commissioner has urged all political parties not to influence nomination of candidates for the union parishad polls.
Huda said since every election was political, local government polls were not completely out of politics; but it was not party-based election.
The Election Commi-ssion had planned to sit on Thursday with the eight political parties having representation in parliament to discuss ways to keep the upcoming union parishad polls free from political influence.
None but Liberal Democratic Party, the lone political parties outside the two electoral alliances having representation in parliament, joined the dialogue.
Components of both AL-led alliance and BNP-led coalition sought time to attend such dialogues.
A two-member delegation of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, went to the Election Commission secretariat but left without talks as none of its allies in the AL-led alliance was present.
The chief election commissioner, ATM Shamsul Huda, termed the political parties’ ignoring the invitation for talks as a lesson for the commission admitting that the commission should have invited them earlier. ‘We do not want to take any move unilaterally,’ he said.
The CEC said it would avoid such short notices in the future.
‘We wanted to know the parties’ views on keeping the union parishad polls free from political influence,’ he said during the dialogue with representatives of the LDP.
LDP delegate head Jahanara Begum said her party would help the EC to hold a non-partisan election.
Acting JSD president Mainuddin Khan Badal went to the commission in the morning but left after a while. ‘There is a communication gap in the alliance…We did not know that our alliance would not join the dialogue. We are leaving as none of our allies have turned up,’ Mainuddin told reporters before leaving the commission secretariat.
According to EC’s invitation and schedule, the commission was supposed to sit with the Awami League and its allies –  Jatiya Party, Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal – in the morning. Liberal Democratic Party was also invited to the talks along with the AL-led ‘grand’ alliance.
The BNP and its allies – Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party – were invited to the EC in the afternoon.
Jamaat-e-Islami on Tuesday wrote to the EC expressing its dissatisfaction over the commission’s not inviting them as a political party.
The CEC urged former and incumbent ministers, and parliament members to go by the electoral code of conduct.
Election commissioner Muhammad Sakhawat Hussain, narrating his experience in the municipal polls, said there were allegations that senior leaders had taken money from the candidates for taking part in their campaigns.
When asked about the request of the aspirants to change their voter registration address, Shamsul Huda said that the commission would receive applications till February 28 in this regard.


Courtesy of New Age

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