Allegations of influence sour FBCCI polls
An influential quarter is trying to enforce the controversial hand-raising voting for the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) election, several polls contestants alleged yesterday.
The quarter is putting pressure on the election board to remove the designated secret ballot system by November 22 -- as the election is slated for November 24.
Under the hand-raising method, the nominated directors come under pressure to vote for the government-backed presidential candidate, the contestants said.
But Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed, who heads an election panel, backed the hand-raising voting system.
â€œIt is the responsibility of the election board to change the secret ballot system before the election, as the hand-raising voting system had been applied in choosing the previous presidents,â€ Ahmed told The Daily Star by phone.
In the Trade Organisation rules, it is not clearly mentioned whether the president should be selected through secret ballot or not, Ahmed added.
A member of the FBCCI election board brushed aside the allegations of influence over the polls. â€œI did not feel any pressure from any quarter. Everything is normal. I hope the board will be able to hold the election on schedule,â€ the member said, asking not to be named.
AK Azad, the incumbent FBCCI president, said: "The matter is absolutely under the jurisdiction of the three-member election board. The board will select the voting method in line with the TO rules.â€
This year, the posts of 30 directors are being contested by a total of 63 candidates: 30 under the banner of Ganatantrik Parishad, 30 under the Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed Panel and three as independent contestants.
The contest was made tougher for the Akramuddin panel by the sudden announcement of a strong panel -- Ganatantrik Parishad -- backed by the former FBCCI president, Annisul Huq, on November 7.
In the FBCCI election, 30 elected directors (15 from chamber group and 15 from association group) along with 18 nominated directors -- nine from the chamber group and nine from the association group -- choose the president for two years, with both categories carrying equal weight in the selection procedure.
According to the election rules, the president will be selected from the association group this year.
An official of the election board said the number of valid voters under the association group is 1,608 this year, while the number is 390 under the chamber group.