Space For Rent
Monday, November 30, 2015, Agrahayan 16, 1422 BS, Safar 17, 1437 Hijri

Municipal Election
EC decides on demands of major parties today  
AL for allowing MPs to join poll campaign
Published :Monday, 30 November, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 20

Staff Correspondent
The Election Commission (EC) will give its opinion today (Monday) on the various demands put forward by the major political parties to the EC on Sunday.
After discussion with the delegates from the Awami League (AL), the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jatiya Party (JP) at the EC Secretariat, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad came up with the decision.
The AL demanded to allow Members of Parliament (MP) to campaign in the polls, the BNP demanded deferment of the election by 15 days and the JP favoured increasing nomination paper submission date by 10 days.
The CEC said that the election is going to be held in 236 municipalities on December 30 to show respect to the law.
"We have given sufficient time. The December 30 deadline is the last chance for the polls to be held," he added.
"Even after that we will weigh the various demands and take a decision at our Monday meeting with the election commissioners," he further said.
A six-member delegation of the ruling party AL led by its Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif handed over a written statement to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad.
The statement  reads the demand of the AL to give opportunity to the Members of Parliament (MP) to campaign during the upcoming municipal polls.
After emerging from the CEC's chamber, the ruling party spokesman, Hanif, told reporters they had informed the CEC of their demands.
"The MPs do not hold any executive power. They also do not enjoy any facility of the government. They have constitutional rights to take part in the partisan municipal election campaign," he said.
 "That is why, we have requested the EC to supersede the exiting prohibition on campaign by the MPs," he also said.  
He termed the prohibition on the MP-campaign a violation of the Constitution.
"The CEC has assured us to consider our demand after discussion with all the commissioners of the EC," Hanif said.
Replying to a question on the demand of election deferment by the BNP, Jatiya Party and Workers Party of Bangladesh, he said that the decision depends on the EC, but the AL has no objection.
He hoped the EC will take all-out measures for a fair election along with a level playing field for all the candidates.     
Other members of the AL delegation are Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Dr Dipu Moni, Khaled Mahmud Chowdhury, Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap and Afzal Hossain.
A five-member team of the BNP headed by its Chairperson Adviser Dr M Osman Faruque also submitted a written statement to the CEC containing several demands. After coming out of the EC, Faruque said that they requested the CEC so that the MPs and the Ministers could not attend the campaign and other election related activities.
"We have also called upon the EC to defer the election by 15 days, to release detained leaders and activists, including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, of our party and to stop arrest of our leaders and activists unnecessarily," he said.
He argued if the election was deferred by 15 days, the new 50 lakh voters from January next will be able to cast their ballots.  
On the EC's logic showing legal obligations to hold the poll by December, Faruque said that the law can be changed for the greater interest of the people.
On the question, if the BNP will take part in the forthcoming polls in case of non-deferment of the election, he said that the BNP is a poll- centric party.
"We will take a decision after discussion."  
Other members of the BNP were Shamsuzzaman Dudu, Capt (Retd) Suza Uddin, SM Abdul Halim and Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal.
Meanwhile, a five-member delegation of the Jatiya Party (JP) in a letter requested the EC to increase 10 days for submission of nomination papers.
They also demanded to give opportunity to the MPs to take part in the election campaign.
Meanwhile, the EC sent a letter signed by the EC Secretary Sirazul Islam to the Finance Ministry asking information about the bank loan defaulters.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]