CEC turns down Shata Nagarik proposal

Says no scope to extend nomination filing deadline

Leaders of Shata Nagarik Committee talk to the media after a meeting with the chief election commissioner at the Election Commission in the capital on Wednesday. — New Age photo

The chief election commissioner has turned down a suggestion of pro-BNP professionals to extend the deadline by two or three days for submission of nomination papers in the upcoming city polls.
‘There is no chance to extend the deadline,’ CEC Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad told reporters on Wednesday night, about two hours after Shata Nagarik Committee – a pro-BNP citizens’ group – placed a six-point recommendation to the EC for holding the city polls in a fair and peaceful atmosphere.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance on Wednesday said the ‘subservient’ Election Commission was going to stage a ‘drama’ of city polls under a government design after the ‘farcical’ election of January 5.
The alliance in a statement signed by BNP joint secretary general Barkat Ullah Bulu said that as part of the ‘conspiracy’, the Awami League government had announced election schedules for the divided Dhaka city corporations and Chittagong city corporation polls to frustrate the current movement ‘when it is about to  achieve victory’.
It was not difficult at all to understand how much independent, neutral and powerful an election commission could be when an ‘agency’ set the date for holding the local government polls.
‘Announcing schedules for elections to three city corporations by a subservient election commission is nothing but making fun of the people,’ the statement read.
Though BNP is yet to come up with a formal announcement on whether to join the elections slated for April 28, party leaders Abdul Awal Mintoo and Abdus Salam on Wednesday collected nomination papers to contest the two Dhaka city corporation polls as mayoral candidates.
A newly floated citizens’ committee called ‘Chittagong Development Movement’ headed by Abul Kalam Azad on Wednesday named the outgoing Chittagong mayor M Manzur Alam as an aspirant in the CCC polls.
Manzur is, however, yet to collect nomination papers.
A delegation of Shata Nagarik Committee led by Emajuddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, met the CEC on the day and placed their six-point recommendation.
The recommendations include preventing the ruling party from attempting to harass candidates supported by other parties and their polling agents by filing ‘false’ cases and to ensure security of candidates backed by other parties during electioneering.
The team included DU professor Mahbub Ullah, Supreme Court Bar Association president Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, Dhaka Union of Journalists faction president Abdul Hai Sikdar and Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury.
The delegation claimed that they had met the CEC in ‘citizens’ interest’ and not on behalf of any political party. When asked what the CEC had told them, Khandaker Mahbub, also the BNP chairperson adviser, said, ‘He has given us assurances. Hopefully, he will show it through his deed.’
Mahbub said that the BNP would join the civic polls if the government stopped torture and arrest of its leaders.
The public administration ministry has, meanwhile, asked the district magistrates of Dhaka and Chittagong to appoint 18 executive magistrates for operating mobile courts in the two cities for the elections slated for April 28 for maintaining law and order and contain crimes in the election areas.
At least six executive magistrates will be appointed in each city corporation in keeping with the request of the Election Commission to operate mobile courts from April 10 to April 29, and also against violation of the electoral code of conduct, according to an official order of the ministry issued on Tuesday.

Source: New Age

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