HC to decide fate of DNCC polls today
The High Court is set today to deliver an order on two writ petitions filed yesterday seeking a stay on the process of holding the upcoming Dhaka North City Corporation by-polls.
The petitions came at a time when the Awami League and the BNP have already picked their mayor candidates -- Atiqul Islam and Tabith Awal respectively -- for the by-elections scheduled for February 26. Possible candidates from other parties have already started wooing voters.
Concluding hearing on the petitions, the HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed set today for passing orders, Deputy Attorney General Mokhlesur Rahman told The Daily Star.
The DNCC mayoral post became vacant after Annisul Huq passed away on November 30 last year. On December 1, the Local Government Division declared the post vacant. The EC on January 9 announced the election schedule. Deadline for filing nomination was set for January 18, while January 21 and 22 were set for scrutinising the nominations submitted. Deadline to withdraw candidacy is January 29.
Jahangir Alom, chairman of Beraid union parishad, and Ataur Rahman, chairman of Bhatara union parishad, filed the two petitions, challenging the legality of the schedule of the polls to the posts of the mayor and the councillors of 18 new wards under the city corporation.
Jahangir, general secretary of Badda Thana Awami League, in his petition said that the EC, despite being asked repeatedly, was yet to provide him with the compact disc (CD), containing the voters' list of the new wards.
Without the CD, he cannot submit his nomination to the commission, he said, adding that the deadline expires on January 18. Advocate Quamrul Haque Siddique appeared for Jahangir in the hearing.
In his petition, Ataur, treasurer of Dhaka North City BNP, said under Section 5(3) of the Local Government (City Corporation) Act, 2009, at least 75 percent of the total ward councillors have to be elected and the election results must be published in a gazette for filling up the mayor post.
Ahsan Habib Bhuiyan, a lawyer for Ataur, told The Daily Star that his client, who wants to contest the polls, was also yet to receive the voters' list. Barrister Mustafizur Rahman Khan argued for Ataur yesterday.
In terms of population, the DNCC is the country's largest city corporation with 23.45 lakh voters.
In the previous election on April 28, 2015, BNP-backed Tabith boycotted the polls halfway on the voting day, bringing allegations of widespread rigging.
In November 2011, the AL-led government split the Dhaka city corporation into two.
The first election to the undivided DCC was held in January 1994, and Mohammad Hanif became the first elected mayor.
ATIQUL GETS AL NOMINATION
Atiqul Islam, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, last night got ruling Awami League's nomination to vie the DNCC by-polls as mayoral candidate.
A meeting of AL's Local Government Nomination Board, with party president Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her official residence the Gono Bhaban, made the decision.
The meeting interviewed 16 aspirants who had collected nominations from the AL.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said the board unanimously chose Atiqul.
He also urged all to work together to ensure Atiqul's victory.
Quader said they selected Atiqul taking his "clean image" and family background into consideration.