EC to exchange views with contestants
The Election Commission (EC) will hold a views-exchange meeting with the April 28 city corporation elections' contestants, apparently for opinions and suggestions and to urge compliance with the electoral code of conduct and seek cooperation to hold free and fair polls.
On April 11, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed, as chief guest, election commissioners and returning officers (RO) will sit with the Chittagong City Corporation poll's contestants in the port city's Muslim Institute Hall at 11:00am.
On April 12, they will meet those of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) polls and the next day those of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) polls, both in the capital's Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
Meanwhile, the EC issued a special circular allowing women councillor candidates of the reserved seats for the first time to use vehicles for campaigning. Previously, only mayoral candidates could avail the facility.
Moreover, the Dhaka Divisional Commissioner rejected appeals of two mayoral aspirants, Nayeem Hasan of DNCC and Babul Sardar Chakhari of DSCC, against cancellation of their nomination papers.
ROs cancelled the papers on April 1 on grounds of defaulting loans and the two filed the appeals two days later.
Earlier, appeals of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Adviser Abdul Awal Mintoo and former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu were rejected.
In Chittagong, four councillor aspirants had their cancellations overturned during hearing of 15 general and reserved councillor aspirants' appeals. Nomination papers of 41 councillor aspirants were cancelled by ROs on grounds including hiding information and defaulting loans.
Meanwhile, two mayoral aspirants for DSCC replied to notices served on Saturday for violating the code.
Awami League-backed aspirant Sayeed Khokon sought blessings after Jummah prayers on Friday and Jatiya Party-backed Saifuddin Ahmed Milon's electoral posters were yet to be taken down, said DSCC RO Mihir Sarwar Morshed.
Campaigning is allowed only in the 21 days prior to the start of voting, meaning they can start on April 7.
Khokon denied conducting any campaign.
Promising to remove the posters within a day, Milon said, “Some of my posters were pasted before announce of election schedule. I have not pasted any poster after announcement of the schedule.”
Moreover, finding proof of the code's violation, CCC RO Abdul Baten, in separate statements, warned of punitive measures if AL-backed mayoral aspirant AJM Nasir Uddin and JP-backed Solaiman Alam repeated the offence.