The political parties are violating the electoral code of conduct by meddling in selecting candidates and forcing many aspirants to withdraw candidacy in the non-partisan upazila parishad elections, a development organisation claimed yesterday.
This is tantamount to influencing the elections, but the Election Commission remains silent, leaders of Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (SHUJAN) told a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Contacted, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said they had not received any complaint of such violations. "If we get a specific and formal allegation, we will look into it."
SHUJAN Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar read out a written statement, citing the violations.
They are pressurising many candidates to quit the race to leave a single contestant, while this practice has been intensified in the second phase of the elections beginning tomorrow, he said.
In addition, there are allegations that supporters of the rivals of the pro-ruling candidates are being harassed by police and getting threats in different upazilas, said the statement.
The SHUJAN also presented a report featuring different information of the second phase elections.
According to it, 515 aspirants are contesting for the chairman post in 117 upazilas.
As in the first phase elections, more than half the chairman candidates are businessmen. At least, 124 chairman aspirants are accused in different cases. Of them, 16 are accused of killing.
Around half the chairman aspirants have completed graduation, while 15.16 percent could not clear SSC exams.
Annual incomes of 373 candidates are less than Tk 5 lakh, while six earn over Tk 1 crore each year. A total of 203 candidates pay income taxes.