Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) today said they found the increasing participation of businessmen in local government elections alarming.
The civil society platform also reported, “most of the candidates in the upcoming Dhaka city corporation elections are involved in business.”
The growing participation of business personnel in elections is “turning politics into business,” Shujan said while revealing their findings of a report at a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the capital today.
The report was prepared after analysing affidavits of about 740 candidates competing from both Dhaka north and south city corporation elections, scheduled to be held on February 1.
From the documents, Shujan found that 73 percent candidates from Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and about 74 percent from Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) are businesspersons. The percentage was much lower—67 percent for DNCC and 71 percent for DSCC—in the previous polls held in 2015.
Indicating at the growing number businessperson in politics, Shujan said this will mean those in power will mostly focus on growing their personal businesses rather than ensuring amenities for Dhaka city people.
“More and more businesspersons have been participating in national elections and now their involvement is growing in local government polls as well,” Shujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said at the press conference.
He also criticised the EC for not helping them with information about candidates and its lack of action against those who violate the electoral code of conduct.
The report also revealed findings on educational qualification of the candidates.
“Two-thirds of the candidates, especially those running for councilor posts, have completed their SSC examinations. However, most mayor candidates are well educated.”
The report further revealed, most councilor candidates are from low to middle-income backgrounds while some of them are accused in one or more multiple cases.
The civil society platform also asked the Election Commission to ensure a level-playing field exists during the polls.
Shujan President Hafizuddin Khan and its central coordinator Dilip Kumar Sarker, addressed the programme.