The ruling Awami League yesterday requested the Election Commission to take legal action against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her followers alleging that they had violated electoral laws by announcing the Dhaka March aiming to resist the 10th parliamentary election.
“We think the so-called Dhaka March programme on December 29 of Begum Khaleda Zia and her people goes against electoral laws as it aims to resist the polls. Resisting elections is an offence. So, we have requested the election commission to take legal action against those who want to resist polls,” said former home minister MK Alamgir.
Alamgir, also convener of AL sub-committee on EC affairs, which is formed to maintain liaison between the EC and the party, said this after a meeting with Election Commissioner Abdul Mobarak at the latter's office.
Amid a boycott by the BNP-led opposition, the voting will take place in 146 out of 300 parliamentary constituencies, as 154 candidates have been elected unopposed.
Khaleda Zia on Tuesday urged the people from every corner of the country to march towards the capital on Sunday to force the government to postpone the January 5 polls.
“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to organise the polls and that is why we told the commission that not only the government, but also the commission should unequivocally announce that resisting the polls is an offence punishable by law,” Alamgir said.
The EC should also announce that necessary actions will be taken against those who will commit and will instigate to make someone commit this offence, he added.
Asked about this, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said the EC had no jurisdiction over it because it was not any electoral campaign or programme.
“We have the jurisdiction to give permission and impose an embargo on the programme because it is not an election rally. It is another thing. So, those, who have legal jurisdiction, will take necessary measures,” he said at the EC Secretariat last evening.
Alamgir once again said that AL would extend its all-out cooperation to the EC for holding a free, fair and peaceful election.
When journalists referred to reports that Alamgir requested the chief election commissioner on Sunday to stop making public the wealth statements of the candidates, the former minister denied the allegation.
“The Election Commission itself will take the decision what information to keep on its website and what to not. We didn't have any formal discussion over this matter.”
He also criticised the media, saying, “Only the income tax authority has the jurisdiction to raise question about the wealth statement of any person. Those, who are raising question about the wealth statements of the candidates, should disclose their statements first. Then they should talk about others'.”