Saturday, December 12, 2015, Agrahayan 28, 1422 BS, Safar 29, 1437 Hijri

EC says 'no' to AL chief
Published :Saturday, 12 December, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 18

The Election Commission (EC) has turned down Awami League President Sheikh Hasina's plea to allot the party symbol to an independent candidate.
The commission in a directive has made it clear to the returning officer of Shariatpur that as per laws and rules relating to municipal elections there is no scope at this juncture to allot party symbols to aspirants who have filed nominations as independent candidates.
EC Assistant Secretary Rajib Ahsan said that the directive was sent to the returning officer on Thursday. After the nomination of the Awami League nominated candidate for Shariatpur Municipality Rafiqul Islam was rejected, Sheikh Hasina issued the party certificate to AL's district unit member and independent candidate Farooq Ahmed Talukdar.
"Awami League President Sheikh Hasina has written to the returning officer urging him to allocate the party's boat symbol to me as the nomination of Rafiqul Islam was rejected," Farooq Ahmed Talukdar said on Tuesday.
Without taking a decision himself, the Returning Officer, Additional Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Al Mamun had sought the EC's opinion on the matter.
After getting the EC's directive, Assistant Returning Officer Biswas Sujan Kumar told on Friday, "There is no scope now for allocation of party symbols to independent candidates. We will follow the commission's directive."
After the media reported about the Awami League chief's request for allocating the party symbol to Farooq Ahmed, the BNP alleged that the head of the government had herself begun the process of violating the code of conduct for municipal elections by seeking to change the party candidate after the deadline had passed.
BNP General Secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday told journalists that their main complaint was against the EC. "The returning officer should have rejected it. Why did he in the first place accept the letter on Dec 7? How is it that the request was sent to the EC?" Alamgir questioned.
According to the Local Government Act 2015, no political party is allowed to nominate more than one person as its mayoral candidate in the municipal elections. If multiple candidates are nominated, then the nominations of all party candidates will be rejected. When his attention was drawn to this clause, EC Secretary Md Sirajul Islam told journalists on Thursday afternoon that the commission would abide by the law.
Later at night the directive was sent to the Shariatpur Returning Officer by the EC secretariat.
As per the polls schedule, elections will be held to 234 municipalities across the country on Dec 30.     ?

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]