Troops patrol Bakerganj upazila in Barisal yesterday morning. The army has been deployed to help law enforcers maintain law and order before and during the February 19 upazila polls. Photo: Star
The first phase of upazila parishad elections is set to witness the dominance of businessmen as more than half of chairman aspirants belong to this profession.
Of the 428 chairman aspirants, 122 have cases against them. Fifteen are charged with murder, said a report of Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (Shujan).
Shujan, a civil society organisation working to establish good governance, yesterday disclosed the findings of the report during a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU).
The report gave information about chairman candidates in the first phase of polls to be held in 97 upazilas on February 19 and one upazila on February 24.
However, Shujan could not collect information about chairmen aspirants in 2 upazilas.
About the profession of chairman candidates, the report said, around 21.03 percent are involved in agricultural sector, while 13.08 percent are engaged in other professions.
Many of the candidates did not mention their professions in their affidavits.
Interestingly, most of the candidates contesting the chairman post are well-educated. At least 220 candidates completed graduation, while 78 could not complete secondary level education.
The annual income of 289 candidates is less than Tk 5 lakh each while six candidates earn more than Tk 1 crore each annually.
At least 61 candidates own properties worth more than Tk 1 crore each. Among them, nine have assets worth over Tk 5 crore each.
Around 62 candidates have taken loans and only 103 pay income taxes, according to the report.
Addressing the function at DRU, Dilip Kumar Sarkar, central co-ordinator of Shujan, said the returning officers and the Election Commission must take necessary steps to widely publicise the information of affidavits so that voters could choose their representatives.
He also criticised the political parties for interfering in the upazila parishad elections, though it should be non-partisan.
Shujan executive member Justice Kazi Ebadul Hoque said, "We want the local government bodies to be run under efficient, skilled and honest leadership. The disclosure of candidates' information will help voters to choose the right person."
Shujan Assistant Secretary Zakir Hossain, among others, was present at the function.