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18 January, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 January, 2017 02:33:34 AM
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Zila parishad polls spoil electoral system: Shujan

STAFF REPORTER

Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a citizens' platform advocating good governance, has said that the electoral system was destroyed during the recently held zila parishad polls. Nominations were traded and there was rampant use of money power. The observation of Shujan was made at a press conference to present a picture of the district council polls and information review of the newly elected chairman. It was held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity in the capital yesterday. Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of Shujan, said: “I have doubts whether the polls can be called an election because election means choosing from different alternatives. In this election, people did not have any scope to elect their desired candidate. There have been nomination trading and use of money in all elections in the recent past. But the district council polls surpassed all that and completed the process of destroying the electoral system.”
 He said the district council polls did not have any connection with the general people. Even many representatives did not know why they were elected and what their responsibilities are.  Shujan urged the government to hold the district council polls through direct voting of the people in future.
 It also urged the government to bring all divisions, including the district administration, under the zila parishad.  Dilip Kumar Sarkar, central coordinator of Shujan, said in the keynote paper that the organisation observed the district council polls held on December 25 last year.
 It found that though the elections were non-partisan as per law, the Awami League announced the names of its candidates. It was not competitive polls as candidates of other major parties did not participate. The elections were fought mainly between AL candidates and party rebels. Many, including 21 chairman candidates, were elected unopposed, as had happened in the 10th parliamentary poll, municipality polls and union parishad polls.
 In violation of electoral laws, many lawmakers sought votes for their candidates by luring voters with benefits like Test Relief, Food for Work and money.
 Although the Election Commission and Speaker of Parliament requested lawmakers to leave the polling areas, many of them stayed back. But no action was taken against them.
 There were incidents of distributing money and clashes occurred before and after the polls in different areas including Mymensingh, Madaripur, Narail, Magura and Gaibandha.
About educational qualifications,
Dilip said: “Of the elected, 45 chairmen are graduates or post-graduates and four have studied up to the secondary level.”
 Of the 59 elected chairpersons, 38 were businessmen and eight lawyers. Two chairpersons have criminal cases against them, while 15 had cases against them in the past. Two chairpersons even had cases against them under Section 302 of CrPC.
 At least 22 chairpersons earn below Tk. 5 lakh annually, while three earn over Tk. 1 crore. Nine earn below Tk. five lakh and nine have possessions worth over Tk. 1 crore.
 The Election Commission announced the schedule for polls to 61 district councils, leaving out the three hill districts. Elections for the chairman’s post in Bogra and Kushtia were suspended.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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