12:00 AM, December 24, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:37 AM, December 24, 2018

25 Jamaat men stay in the race

EC says no scope now to scrap their candidacy; 22 running on BNP ticket, three as independents

The Election Commission yesterday said there is no scope now for scrapping the candidacy of 25 Jamaat-e-Islami leaders who are contesting the parliamentary election despite cancellation of the party's registration.   

Of them, 22 are in the race with BNP's electoral symbol "sheaf of paddy" and three as independent candidates.

After a meeting of the commission, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed yesterday said they have examined the related law and “there is no scope for rejecting the Jamaat leaders' candidacy at this moment”.

Helaluddin said returning officers accepted and finalised the Jamaat leaders' nomination papers. But no objections were filed with the election tribunal against the ROs' decisions.

Besides, the ROs also allocated electoral symbol to the Jamaat leaders, he added. 

The EC scrapped Jamaat's registration following an HC verdict in 2013.

On Tuesday, the HC directed the EC to dispose of in three working days the application filed for cancellation of the Jamaat men's candidacy.

The court also issued a rule asking the government to explain in four weeks why the EC's decision to allow Jamaat men to contest the election despite the cancellation of their party's registration should not be declared illegal.

In the rule, the court asked the EC to show cause as to why the commission should not be directed to cancel their candidacy.

In another development, the EC yesterday turned down the BNP's plea for permission to field the party's alternative candidates or rescheduling of the polls in the constituencies where the HC rejected candidacies of five party candidates.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, BNP on Thursday urged the EC to allow them to field alternative candidates from among those who have already submitted nomination papers.

"There is a provision for rescheduling election if a contestant dies ... A candidate being disqualified by the court is a sort of death," BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan told reporters after handing over the letter to the CEC.

"The EC should reschedule the election in those constituencies,” he said.

Five BNP leaders lost their candidacy yesterday following an HC order on Thursday. The court disqualified them as the government did not accept their resignation as upazila chairmen.

According to the Representation of the People Order (RPO), anyone holding “an office of profit” like that of an upazila chairman cannot run for MP.  With the five, the BNP now has no contenders in 15 of the 300 seats.

The five BNP leaders are Faridul Kabir Talukdar of Jamalpur-4, Fazlur Rahman of Joypurhat-1, Abdul Majid of Jhenidah-2, Abu Sayeed Chan of Rajshahi-6, and Md Moslem Uddin of Brahmanbaria-4.

Also yesterday, Six Jatiya Oikyafront candidates lodged complaints with the commission, seeking steps to stop “attacks on their election campaign and arrest and harassment of their campaigners and activists”.

Besides, the BNP in a letter urged the chief election commissioner to give necessary directives to police so that law enforcers allow Jatiya Oikyafront to hold a rally in the capital on December 27 as part of its electioneering.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police denied the party permission for the rally in violation of the Representation of the People Order, 1972, Nazrul Islam Khan alleged.

"We have planned a rally in Dhaka as part of our election campaign, as the RPO permits us to do so," said Nazrul also Oikyafront coordinator after handing over the letter to CEC KM Nurul Huda.

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