Swadhinata Parishad, a candidate panel of the upcoming election of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), staged a protest yesterday alleging an attack on their leaders by supporters of other panels.
“Some people from the BGMEA attacked our leaders and officials while we were returning from the office of the election commission situated inside the BGMEA office at around 11:00am today (yesterday),” said Zahangir Alam, convener of Swadhinata Parishad.
“We want legal action against the attackers and we denounce this attack. We want the BGMEA declare the attackers persona non grata,” he said at a human chain the parishad formed in the city's Karwan Bazar area around 3:30pm.
Yesterday was the last day for submission of the nomination paper for the biennial election of the garment makers' platform which is scheduled to be held on April 6.
Alam said 19 out of his panel's 26 candidates had submitted their nomination papers.
“We want the BGMEA election to be held. Anybody can come to power after the election. We will congratulate the elected representatives of the BGMEA,” he said. Siddiqur Rahman, the BGMEA president, said he was not aware of the attack on the election candidates as none had lodged any complaint with him yet.
Previously the BGMEA had over 6,000 members but now it had declined to 2,200 who have 3,200 active garment factories, Rahman told a group of reporters at his office in Dhaka yesterday.
This year, there are 1,596 valid voters in Dhaka region and 359 in Chattogram.
Two panels, including Forum and Sammilito Parishad, usually elect 35 directors through the BGMEA election. Later, the directors of the winning panels elect the presidents and directors for a two-year tenure.
Swadhinata Parishad is contesting for the first time.
The tenure of the current BGMEA board expired on September 22 in 2017. However, the board was able to convince the commerce ministry to extend its tenure several times.