DNCC by-polls in late Feb

Dhaka North City Corporation Logo

The by-polls to Dhaka North City Corporation's mayoral post will be held in the last week of February. Elections to the newly included 36 wards in two Dhaka city corporations are slated to be held with the by-polls, the Election Commission said yesterday.

This announcement came amid political parties having informal talks to pick their best candidates for the DNCC mayoral post.

Elections to the councillor posts in the 36 new wards -- 18 under Dhaka North City Corporation and 18 under Dhaka South City Corporation -- will be held on the same day.

EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed came up with the declaration while briefing reporters after a meeting at the Nirbachan Bhaban. Election schedule will be announced by mid-January, he added.

Helaluddin said as there were no legal complications in holding the by-polls, the commission decided to announce the election schedule in the second week of January.

By-polls to the mayoral post will be partisan, and elections to the councillor posts non-partisan.

On December 4, the Local Government Division issued a gazette, saying that the DNCC's mayoral post has been vacant since December 1 as Mayor Annisul Huq passed away.

According to the constitution, the by-polls have to be held within 90 days of a post becoming vacant.

Although political parties have not had any formal discussion on selecting mayoral candidates, many, while speaking at different programmes, expressed their interest in getting tickets from the ruling Awami League or the BNP.

Insiders said the parties would take the mayoral polls seriously as it would be a crucial test of popularity ahead of the next parliamentary elections.

From the ruling AL, names of several family members of Annisul, Dhaka City North AL President AKM Rahmatullah, also the lawmaker in Dhaka-11, Dhaka-9 lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, and former AL lawmaker Sarah Begum Kobori have come up for discussions. 

Earlier, in a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told her cabinet colleagues that her party should not be "emotional" in nominating candidates for this election. “Pick a genuine candidate for the polls without taking it emotionally.”

"We are yet to formally discuss selection of party candidate. Time has not come to finalise the mayoral candidate, but the party will surely choose the best candidate,” Abdur Razzak, AL presidium member, told The Daily Star yesterday.

The BNP is likely to nominate Tabith Awal. BNP sources, however, said if the party goes to the polls under the banner of its alliance, it might consider Bangladesh Jatiya Party Chairman Andaleeve Rahman Partha as well.

"The party is yet to begin discussion on nominating a candidate. It will nominate the candidate only after the election schedule is announced,” said Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, BNP standing committee member.

There was an uncertainty whether elections to the new wards would be held. But the EC yesterday made it clear.

“Tenure of the newly elected ward councillors will be that of the incumbent city corporation,” said the acting EC secretary.

The LGRD and cooperatives ministry in July expanded the areas of the two city corporations by including 16 union councils. It formed 36 wards in the areas. The ministry asked the EC in August to hold elections to the new wards.

After the expansion, the number of wards in the DNCC rose to 54 from 36 while reserved seats for women rose to 18 from 12. The number of general wards in DSCC rose to 75 from 57 while reserved seats for women rose to 25 from 19.

Over 23.45 lakh city dwellers are expected to cast their votes to pick the mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. In terms of population, the DNCC is the largest city corporation in the country.

In the last DNCC election on April 28, 2015, BNP-backed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal boycotted the polls on election day, alleging widespread rigging.

Assuming the office, the Awami League-led grand alliance government split Dhaka city corporation into two in November 2011.

The first election to the undivided DCC was held in January 1994.


Law minister
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