Upazila polls
Friday, 22 August 2008

Flexible attitude of EC towards parties could help

The Emergency Government and its Election Commission seem desperately concentrating on holding the upazila elections by October keeping in abeyance the elections to Parliament. The EC is now making preparations for elections to selected 340 upazilas in the first phase. The schedule for the elections will be announced in the second week of the next month . The EC is moving ahead with the plan to hold the upazila polls before the Parliamentary elections ignoring the persistent opposition to it by the political parties, specially Awami League and BNP. Under the new upazila election rules to be notified next week, the upazila elections will be held on non-party basis and in the campaign no candidate will be allowed to use the name of any political party, party poll symbol and name or photograph of any political personality. Besides, a person must be a voter in the particular upazila to be eligible for contesting upazila polls from there. These provisions are vehemently opposed by politicians and aspirant candidates. They argue that since the recent city corporation and pourasabha elections were allowed to be held on political basis following a High Court ruling, the upazila polls too should be allowed to be contested on the basis of political identity. Moreover, a good number of hopeful candidates demand that a person who has become a voter in a particular area outside his native upazila should be allowed to change the area by surrendering the registration as voter there and be re-enlisted as a voter in his own upazila so that he can contest the upazila polls. Meanwhile, as the government and the EC are bent on holding the upazila polls before national elections disregarding the opinion of the major political parties who are deadly against this move , the two sides seem to be heading for confrontation which may delay and even disrupt the parliamentary election. A flexible attitude of  EC in considering the opinion of major political parties could go a long way in holding  free and fair elections.

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