Partisan UP elections

Devise measures to hold free and fair local govt polls

Published : 14 Nov 2021 09:59 PM

In the wake of massive violence and hooliganism across the country, the ruling Awami League is now mulling not to arrange union parishad election anymore under the party banner. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last month at a meeting of Awami League local government nomination board wanted to know whether the union parishad polls under party banner would continue. Most of the Awami League grassroots leaders told the party president Sheikh Hasina that they prefer non-partisan polls at the union parishad as it continues leading to intra-party feud and difficulty in ensuring single candidates for polls.

On October 12, 2015 the incumbent government approved the drafts of five laws on local governments which allowed registered political parties to nominate candidates in the local body elections. It also permitted candidates to use party symbols and even the portrait of their party leaders while campaigning.

Tougher initiatives need to be 

taken to hold polls in a free, 

fair and neutral manner 

In the last five years, leaders of the Awami League and its associate organisations got involved in internal feuds that often turned violent centring union parishad elections. Following the grassroots leaders’ suggestions, the Awami League’s policy makers are now reconsidering the issue and thinking not to go for arranging union parishad election under the party banner.

Over 50 people mostly activists of the ruling Awami League were killed and many others injured in separate clashes between supporters of rival candidates in different districts during the second phase of the UP polls.

Defying party's order and repeated warnings, a large number of Awami League leaders filed nominations, contested the polls and clashed with party nominees. When the ruling Awami League is struggling to resolve the intra-party conflict the ongoing union parishad elections are intensifying clashes and feuds at grassroots level.

Therefore, we apprehend more conflicts, clashes and feud will erupt among the nomination seekers if the Awami League policymakers fail to handle the matter smoothly. 

It has been noticed that in most cases, the dedicated, honest and sincer leaders have been excluded from the final nomination list while the influential, corrupts and hoodlums blessed with local lawmakers, obtained the party ticket to contest the polls. And such attitudes towards clean image leaders made the grassroots activists frustrated, fueling them to violate party decision and get clash with the rival.

The ongoing union parishad polls have become a matter of panic. We do not want to see blood shedding in the name of elections and urge the Election Commission to take more stern measures to curb election violence. Needless to say, tougher initiatives need to be taken to hold polls in a free, fair and neutral manner.