Total 3,056 candidates nomination papers submitted: National election
12:00 AM, November 29, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:55 AM, November 29, 2018

Filing Nomination Papers: Polls code flouted, no action taken

Processions in different districts, Dhaka was a welcome exception

Defying the electoral code of conduct, many Awami League and BNP leaders yesterday submitted nomination papers in processions across the country.

The leaders, including ministers and incumbents, were seen thronging the office of the returning officers with a huge number of supporters and party men. Some of them even used government privileges while submitting the documents.

The Election Commission deployed 691 executive magistrates across the country to check polls code violation but there was no report of action against anyone.

EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said the aspirants submitted nomination papers amid fanfare with no untoward incident. "We have not got any news of violation of electoral code of conduct."

Yesterday was the last day for submitting nominations. Now, the returning officers would scrutinise the documents on December 2.

For this election, 3,056 nomination papers were filed, the second highest since restoration of democracy in 1991. In 1991, at least 3,855 people had filed nominations; in June 1996 polls, 3,093; in 2001 election, 2,563; in 2008 polls, 2,460; and in 2014 election 1,107.

Failing to strike a deal over seat-sharing with allies, the two major political parties allowed their partners to file as many nominations as they wanted, which resulted in the large number of nominations filed.

This time at least 39 nomination papers were filed online.

Dhaka-17 saw highest 27 aspirants and Magura-2 the lowest, four.

Even though reports of electoral code violations came from all corners of the country, Dhaka was different. Police were seen preventing people more than the stipulated number to enter the RO's office at the capital's Segunbagicha.

According to the electoral code of conduct, no procession could be brought out while submitting nomination papers. The Election Commission has said no more than seven people could accompany aspirants to the RO's office. They also cannot avail any government facilities, the EC instructions included.

In Sylhet, AL aspirant AK Abdul Momen went to the RO's office with many party men. He submitted his nomination paper with around 30 people with him.

His elder brother, Finance Minister AMA Muhith went there with police escort. The police were there when he presented his documents.

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid submitted his nomination to the offices of two assistant returning officers (ARO) in Beanibazar and Golapganj before submitting to the RO's office in Sylhet. Like Muhith, he also had police escort.

In the morning, Nahid went to the ARO office in Beanibazar in a procession of more than 100 people. He entered the office with around 20 people, including Officer-in-Charge Aboni Shankar Kar Beanibazar Police Station.

Aboni said they were “on protocol duty” during the nomination submission.

Similar was the picture when Nahid's motorcade went to Golapganj upazila and at the RO's office in Sylhet.

MPs Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury in Sylhet-3 and Imran Ahmed Sylhet-4 also submitted their nominations with more people than the EC allows.

Jatiya Party MP Yahya Chowdhury also went to file nominations in Sylhet-2 with more than 100 people.

BNP aspirants in Sylhet-1 Inam Ahmed Chowdhury and Khandakar Muktadir submitted their nomination with a huge crowd of people inside the RO's office.

Inam went to the office holding a sheaf of paddy, the electoral symbol of the BNP.

Kazi Arifur Rahman, assistant returning officer and upazila nirbahi officer of Beanibazar, said he could not control the huge number of people.

In Rajshahi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam went to two offices of AROs with several hundred of his supporters and party men. Many of them were on motorbikes.

When he submitted his papers to the ARO's office in Charghat, more than 10 people were accompanying him and several hundred were waiting outside the office.

Lawmaker Ayeen Uddin filed nominations in three offices. And at each of the offices, he had several hundred people accompanying him. He used a vehicle that had the member of parliament sticker on it.

When Rajshahi-2 lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha and Rajshahi-3 MP Enamul Haque appeared at the RO's office, they had hundreds of supporters with them.

Law enforcers warned them and prevented them from taking more than five people into the office.

Violating the code, BNP aspirants Mizanur Rahman Minu and Shahid Hasan of Rajshahi-2 went to the RO's office accompanied by a huge number of supporters. Even though they went there together, they entered the RO's office one after another with a few supporters.

BNP aspirant Shafikul Islam Milon of Rajshahi-3 also had hundreds of supporters with him when he submitted nomination in Poba upazila.

Awami League nominee in Brahmanbaria-3 RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury entered the RO's office around 11:15am with more than 50 leaders and followers.

An executive magistrate was there but no step was taken.

Asked, Returning Officer Hayat-Ud-Dowllah Khan blamed journalists for the crowd. He said they could not identify who were journalists and who were political activists.

After Muktadir's submission, officials of the RO allowed only six supporters of Islami Andolon Bangladesh's candidate Syed Anwar Ahmed Liton.

Around 12:30pm, JP nominee Mamunur Rashid was allowed into the office with seven of his men.

In Chattogram, a group of youths were seen in front of the RO's office wearing T-shirts that had AL aspirant Afsarul Amin's picture on the front and “vote for boat” slogan on the back.

A huge number of leaders, activists and supporters were with AL and BNP nominees but police did not allow more than seven to accompany the aspirant inside the RO's office.

In Narayanganj, AL lawmaker Shamim Osman went to the RO's office in Fatullah in a car that had the member of parliament sticker. Several hundred of his followers and party men waited outside the office to welcome him.

After exchanging greetings, he submitted his nomination paper for Narayanganj-4 with around 50 men with him. As he came out of the office, his supporters chanted slogans and distributed sweetmeats.

Earlier in the day, his brother and JP lawmaker Selim Osman entered the RO's office with some 50 men to file his nomination.

BNP aspirant Kazi Moniruzzaman arrived at the office with more than 50 of his party men to submit nomination for Narayanganj-1.

SM Akram, a BNP aspirant, submitted his papers for Narayanganj-5 with over 30 people.

None of the aspirants wanted to talk about the violation of the code of conduct.

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