BNP participating in Upazila elections despite 'doubts' over fair elections
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-02-13 13:47:56.0 BdST Updated: 2017-02-13 16:38:02.0 BdST
Though critical of the newly formed Election Commission, the BNP has decided to participate in the upcoming Upazila polls in the country.
The BNP has been critical of the new Election Commission, its leaders have even questioned the impartiality of the Chief Election Commissioner , but a poll boycott is ruled out.
Polls to these 18 Upazilas are due on 6th Mar and the Election Commission headed by newly appointed Chief Election Commission K M Nurul Huda will conduct them.
Political parties can field candidates to contest the positions of Upazila chairman, vice-chairmen and vice-chairperson (reserved for women) in these polls.
The deadline for withdrawing nominations for these polls is 17 Feb -- the date for filing and scrutiny is over.
Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party have fielded candidates for the three positions in Sylhet, said the district's Senior Election Officer Monir Hossain.
"Some nominations have been cancelled after scrutiny. Final list of candidates with be available after end of deadline for withdrawal and appeal."
Candidates will contest with their party symbols for this local government elections. Preparations are on to hold the elections in a proper way, Hossain said.
The voting will be held for all the three positions at Sylhet's Osmaninagar, Khagrhachharhi's Guimara and Sunamganj's Jagannathpur Upazila.
Polls will be held for the post of chairman in Kurhigram sadar, Barisal's Banariparha, Gouranadi, Jhalakathhi's Kanthhalia, Patuakhali's Rangabali, Comilla's Adarsha sadar, Pabna'a Sujanagar, and Kishoreganj's Hossainpur.
Candidates will contest for the post of vice-chairman in Comilla's Chouddogram, Natore's Borhaigram, Nilphamari's Joldhaka, Stakhira's Kolaroa and Bagerhat's Morelganj.
Candidates will contest for the reserved seats at Pabna's Ishwardi and Comilla sadar (south).
Independent candidates can ask for nomination by coming up with a list of 250 supporters. The rule does not apply to those who have served as either chairman or vice-chairman previously.
Interested candidates can fill up the nomination papers online, an option that was catered during the district council elections.
The election to Baghaichharhi municipality in Rangamati is due on Feb 22. On Mar 22, by-polls to Gaibandha-1 seat will be held for which candidates can apply until Feb 19.
After boycotting the tenth national polls organised by the Kazi Rakibbudin led Electon Commission, BNP took part in all the local government elections that followed.
But the party, which is the major opposition party outside the Parliament, did not contest the by-polls.
BNP, which had been loud in criticising Kazi Rakibuddin, has expressed doubt over the impartiality of new CEC KM Nurul Huda.
During a discussion on Sunday, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said: "Government has now pressed for Nurul Huda who is worse than Kazi Rakibuddin and the president has approved it."
"A fair election can never be held under such a person who obeys the government blindly."
As per the Representation of the People Order, the registration of a political party is cancelled if it does not participate in the Parliamentary Elections for two consecutive terms.
So the BNP will have to contest the 2019 National Polls to maintain its registration as a political party.
When asked on this note, BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told bdnews24.com: "We have not rejected the new CEC yet. The new CEC is holding the Upazila and municipality elections. We will first observe its activities and see if it is neutral."
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