It has been 14 days since councillor aspirants for the two Dhaka city corporations filed their affidavits and income statements, but the returning office of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) polls is depriving voters of information about most councillor candidates.
Let alone information about affidavits and income statements, even names of councillor contenders have not been posted online, contradicting electoral code.
“There are posters of only the AL-backed incumbent councillor in my area. To know about other candidates, I visited the EC website but found nothing,” said Azizur Rahman, a resident of ward-26 of DNCC.
Till 8:30pm last night, DNCC’s returning office published affidavits and income statements of general councillor candidates in only 19 of 54 wards.
It also failed to disclose information of reserved seat candidates completely. Information of only seven out of 18 reserved seats were published till yesterday evening.
However, affidavits and other information of mayoral candidates of both city corporations have been published on the site.
According to the city corporation election operations manual, a massive publicity on affidavits should be carried out by the returning officer, so that voters can analyse information and choose the right candidate.
It has also directed the returning officer to publish affidavits and income statements of contenders on the Election Commission Secretariat website.
Mayor and councillor candidates submitted their affidavits, tax return files and income statements along with their nomination papers to the returning officers by December 31 last year.
The returning officers scrutinised the nomination papers on January 2.
Two days later, the returning office of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) polls published the information on the website. A couple of days later, they however removed the information and again made it public on the website on January 12.
On the contrary, their counterpart -- the office of DNCC -- published information of only a few councillor candidates on January 12.
On Monday, Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) wrote a letter to the secretary of Election Commission, to publish information of income and tax return of all candidates at the earliest.
Dilip Kumar Sarker, central coordinator of Shujan, said there were no instances of such delay in publishing candidates’ information in previous elections. “It’s a kind of negligence of officials concerned,” he said.
According to election manual, if an EC official willingly or without any logical reason fails to carry out government duties, they can be handed minimum six months’ to maximum one-year imprisonment.
Returning Officer of DNCC polls Abul Kashem was contacted every day for the last three days by this newspaper.
On both Sunday and Monday, he had said the information would be published that same night.
Contacted yesterday, Abul Kashem said he had no idea of the reason behind the delay.
“We’ve already sent the information to the EC. It will be uploaded soon,” he added.
EC Senior Secretary Md Alamgir could not be reached for comments over phone, despite several attempts.