The record number of nomination papers being rejected may be attributed to the fact that a huge number of candidates are vying to contest this election. However, this does not change the fact that opposition candidates—often the top ones—were declared ineligible by the Election Commission rather disproportionately. So far, the nominations of nearly a quarter of opposition alliance candidates have been revoked, while only three candidates from the ruling party suffered the same fate.
Some nomination papers were rejected because they lacked information that could easily be fixed or verified. Some candidates were declared ineligible because they hold public office, although relevant laws and provisions do not explicitly put any restriction on them. Some nomination papers were cancelled simply because the signature of the candidate was missing.
The candidacy of Reza Kibria, an opposition candidate, for example, was invalidated by election officials for an outstanding credit card payment of Tk 5,500, while a number of serious loan defaulters aligned with the governing party had their nomination papers approved.
Some candidates who defaulted on massive amounts of loans are evading the electoral rules and regulations either with a court stay order or with the connivance of the bank and regulatory authorities, who illegitimately rescheduled the loans.
The people of this country deserve better than unscrupulous individuals to be their representatives. They want honest candidates with impeccable credentials to represent them in the parliament.
We call on the election officials to adhere to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) judiciously but not mechanically. They shouldn't act in a way that will question their neutrality.