Elections to five city corporations

Published : 08 May 2023 09:16 PM

The go­vernment alone cannot make democracy functional. If we really  mean to give democracy an institutional shape, the government, opposition and other stakeholders must take imitative uniletedly.

Neither the government nor the opposition can unilaterally make democracy functional. Since the country’s independence, the opposition never behaved and practised democracy.

Democratic culture has long been absent in the behaviour of our political parties.

The recent movement of opposition parties is to overthrow the government. They have forgotten their obligations to serve the people. They have been engaged in achieving selfish 

political end.

We have experienced in the past that the opposition political parties did not play their due role. They are always inclined to defeat the incumbent government not for working to establish the democratic culture in the country. 

The immediate past city elections were ignored and non-participatory by the opposition.

The Election Commission (EC) will hold polls to five city corporations of the country between May 25 and June 21. Needles to mention, the city corporation polls will have a serious impact on the next national elections. 

As per the schedule, Gazipur City Corporation polls will be held on May 25, Khulna and Barishal City Corporations on June 12 and Rajshahi and Sylhet City Corporations polls will be held on June 21.

The last dates for nomination papers submission are May 16 and May 23. The election to the five cities will be held with the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Close-circuit cameras will also be installed in the polling centers to monitor the polls.

The ruling Awami League has nominated its mayoral candidates for five city corporation polls-Gazipur, Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi and Barishal.

AHM Khairuzzaman Liton has got the Awami League ticket to run for mayor in the Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) elections while Talukder Abdul Khaleque in Khulna City Corporation polls, Anwaruzzaman Chowdhury in Sylhet polls, Abul Khair Abdullah in Barishal polls and Azmat Ullah Khan in Gazipur polls.

Besides, the main opposition party in the Jatiya Sangsad, Jatiya Party nominated MM Niaz Uddin for contesting in the polls of Gazipur City Corporation, Saiful Islam Swapan in Rajshahi City Corporation, Shafiqul Islam Madhu in Khulna City Corporation, Engineer Iqbal Hossain Taposh in Barishal City Corporation and Nazrul Islam Babul in Sylhet City Corporation.

But the country’s one of the major political parties Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir categorically said their party is not joining the upcoming elections to five city corporations in any way.

On the other hand, the party (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) leaders and workers submitted nomination papers for contesting the upcoming city elections in mayoral and councilor posts. 

We believe that the EC and the 

government would do everything 

possible to ensure city corporations elections are 

held peacefully, fairly, freely and impartially. We hope 

that the commission will gain 

people’s trust and confidence 

through its works

Although the BNP did not participate in local government elections at different levels with the party symbol (sheaf of paddy), the party had its candidates wearing veils. 

All think candidates wearing veils will also participate in the upcoming city polls this time. BNP leaders have become frustrated after being rejected by the people again and again. They fear contesting polls and they always try to make the elections and the election process questionable.

Although the election symbols have not been distributed among the candidates yet, the nominees of Awami League, Jatiya Party and independent candidates for mayoral posts and councilors are now conducting their campaigns in their respective city corporation areas.

Apart from the candidates, people are also more enthusiastic and waiting to franchise their voting rights in the local government elections under the current government as they understand and the entire world understands that there will be fair election under this election commission and the government as well.

The elections to five city corporations would be the high-voltage battle of ballots amid tight security as all eyes will be on them. Voters are expected to cast their votes in the polls to elect their respective city mayors, ward councillors and women councillors from the reserved seats.

A tough contest is expected among the Awami League, Jatiya Party and independent mayoral candidates. Therefore, these elections would be an acid test for the commission and the government as well just seven months ahead of national elections, as people and different political parties would observe the role of the commission, administration and law enforcers.

However, people think the commission is itself is strong, capable, and independent for holding poll as it is determined to conduct the polls in fair and transparent manner. The commission is completing all necessary preparations to hold the polls in a free, fair and credible manner.

People living in these five city corporations areas have not yet witnessed any major incidence of violence since the candidates started their campaign. However, various vested quarters in association with Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which did not field any candidate for mayoral posts, is now engaged in making the five city corporations polls controversial in many ways.

But the people of five cities have not been confused by Bangladesh Nationalist’s Party’s propaganda as the voters living there believe that the party’s  only work is to spark controversy on a particular issue which is nothing but to create a political confusion.

The party has become a fallen political party after being repeatedly rejected by the country’s people. Avoiding the path of politics, they (Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders) are trying to capture the state power through conspiracy.

The countrymen believe the polls will be held without clashes and any kind of mismanagement in Gazipur, Sylhet, Khulna, Rajshahi and Barishal. Apart from the commission, the government has also extended all-out cooperation to the commission in holding elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner and ensuring law and order situation in the city.

The local government elections strengthen the pillars of democracy at the grassroots, increase scopes of accountability. However, there are lots of questions about the neutrality of the commission which is going to hold the city corporations polls. 

So, countrymen also want to see ahead of the next general elections as to how much the commission and the government can earn the confidence of the county’s people and the global community. The commission and the government have taken various measures to create a level-paying field for fair polls.

Countrymen believe that the commission and the government would do everything possible to ensure city corporations elections are held peacefully, fairly, freely and impartially. We also believe the commission will gain people’s trust and confidence through its works. 

The commission has directed the metropolitan police commissioners and the district administrations concerned to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the electoral code of conduct in the upcoming elections to Khulna, Barishal, Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations. 

The respective deputy commissioners (DCs), police commissioners and superintendents of police (SPs) will perform their due responsibilities to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the electoral code of conduct in the upcoming city corporation elections.

The observance of electoral code of conduct is a prerequisite for conducting elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner. The tendency of some candidates to hold rallies, motorcycle processions or show-downs is being noticed during the collection and submission of nomination papers for the city corporation elections which is against electoral code of conduct. 

According to polls’ code of conduct, no procession or showdown shall be held during the collection and submission of nomination papers or candidates shall not collect and submit nomination papers with more than five supporters.

No procession or any showdown will be held during the pre-election period. No candidate or any political party or any other person, organisation or institution on his or her behalf can bring out a procession or torch procession or showdown or any other kind of procession with truck, bus, motorcycle, boat, train or any other mechanical vehicle. 

Therefore, all candidates of the upcoming city polls must follow the electoral code of conduct. Besides, all must remain vigilant so that none can obstruct city corporation polls through violence.

S M Mizanur Rahman is 

working as Assistant 

Editor at Bangladesh Post