IT'S a good augury that the first phase of the local government elections to 97 upazilas has begun amid much excitement and festivity. It promises to give the people, who could not exercise their franchise in the recently-held national election, the opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice in the upazila parishads.
While we appreciate the fact that majority of the candidates in the race are well-educated, reasons for anxiety remains as several candidates have cases against them, a few of them even facing murder charges. Hopefully, the Election Commission has apprised the voters of the vital facts relevant to the candidates' antecedents through affidavits submitted to it. This will help the electorate make an informed choice in the upazila polls. Even so, we would like to believe, the EC has done its job so that the voters will be able to choose honest and dedicated leadership to run the administration efficiently.
A party-less election though in theory it may be, the fact remains that candidates in the electoral race are in an overwhelming number being backed by the major political parties, the ruling AL and the BNP. In this connection, we take note of the fact that some leaders of the ruling AL, far from welcoming their rival BNP's decision to take part in the election have rather criticised them. This is uncalled-for. In fact, such participation by BNP candidates will only lend credence to the election as well as provide the parties with the scope to test their popularity among the electorate, an opportunity they missed in the 10th JS election.