EC frustrated with boycott of upazila polls

Special Correspondent

Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Sunday said that boycott of the elections to upazila parishads by some of the major political parties was disappointing for the Election Commission.
At a training of trainers programme for the officials who would conduct the upazila elections at Electoral Training Institute in Dhaka, he, however, said that he was optimistic that the elections would be competitive despite nonparticipation of the parties.
‘These are local government election and the civic body polls usually see stiff competitions as local people become the candidates,’ he added.
He urged the trainers to carry out their duties neutrally while discharging their duties during the polls.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and most of the parties are not participating in the 5th upazila parishad elections in protest against alleged vote rigging in the December 30 general election.
For the first time, the political parties will field candidates in the upazila polls with their electoral symbols.
The staggered elections in 491 upzilas will be held in five phases starting from March 10 and the last one will be held in June.
The second phase of the upazila elections will be held on March 18, third phase on March 24, fourth phase on March 31 and the fifth phase is likely to be held on June 18.
BNP to expel leaders for contesting upazila polls
Meanwhile, The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Sunday warned that its leaders and activists who would participate in the elections to upazila parishads, scheduled to begin from March 10, would be expelled.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi issued the warning at a briefing at the party’s central office.
A meeting of the BNP standing committee at its jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office on January 24, BNP decided to boycott the Dhaka North City mayoral by-polls, scheduled for February 28, and the upazila parishad elections.
After the meeting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a briefing said that the meeting decided not to take part in the elections to the important local government bodies.
He said the party thought that the polls under the present government and the incumbent Election Commission would be nothing but ‘farce.’
Fakhrul claimed that no election would be free and fair if not held under a neutral government.
On the chief election commissioner’s statement that boycott of the elections by political parties was frustrating, Rizvi told the Sunday’s briefing that chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda was the main architect of ‘midnight’ ballot stuffing in the December 30 general election.

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