Ahammad Parvej Khan
BNP and its allies are constantly trying to create controversies over the activities of the election commission (EC) by raising unnecessary issues and choosing corrupt, loan defaulters and convicted party leaders.
Knowingly, they submitted nominations of over eight hundred candidates. By analyzing the nature of the candidature, it can be easily understood that their motive is to put blame on the EC and foil their images to disrupt the polls as they are still active to grab state-power through illegal means.
Presidium member of the ruling Awami League and Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said this while talking to the Bangladesh Post at his secretariat recently.
Expressing the hope that a free, fair and credible election will be held on December 30, 2018, the veteran politician said ‘We are very happy that a participatory election is going to be held finally.’
“The allegations that the BNP-led alliance is making repeatedly are not true. These are raised with an intention to make the EC controversial. Many candidates whose nominations were earlier rejected are now found eligible following appeal hearing at EC and some are rejected finally. There is no bias here,” said Tofail.
We have seen that a number of nomination papers of BNP aspirants were rejected, while those of many were revised. I believe all these were done as per the rules. You know the nomination papers were rejected based on some reasons but surprisingly the reasons were not mentioned.
Actually BNP knew that nominations of some of their candidates will be rejected. For this, they distributed nominations to more than one candidate in each of the constituencies. Awami League gave two candidates each in 16 constituencies only, whereas BNP nominated up to 8 persons for a single electoral seat.
Yes, we know that BNP is also a big political party. But they failed to nominate candidates to that level. Their alliance nominated two persons in my constituency – local BNP president and another one is Andalib Rahman Partha. BNP’s loan defaulter candidates were rejected. We are happy that they would compete in the elections. It was based on CIB report as it was a main criterion for eligibility for candidature. Hafiz Ibrahim was convicted. From legal point of view, returning officer mentioned that he was jailed for 10 years in one case as per section 21 and another 3 years under section 27. But he was acquitted from 10 years imprisonment by a High Court verdict. Regarding other case, it was said that the period he was in jail was not more than 2 years. That’s why the returning officer did not reject his nomination. We did not argue in this regard.
So the debate over rejection of candidature is not fair because Awami League knows that the sitting members of the party were given nominations in most seats. Those whom we changed, they knew it well. So candidates of Awami League submitted their nominations much carefully.
There is the rule, if any candidate intends to submit nomination paper individually, has to collect signatures along with telephone numbers of a certain number of local elites or representatives. As you know there are 3 lakh voters in my constituency if someone wants to compete individually then he or she has to collect 3000 signatures. It was found that most of the signatures collected by Imran H Sarker were fake ones.
There is a controversy over the legality BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s candidature. You know, as per section 66/2 (Ga), no convicted person will be eligible to contest the polls as a candidate. There is a provision in the constitution that if anybody is awarded jail for more than 2 years on the ground of ethical degradation, then he or she cannot participate in the election.
Khaleda Zia’s was not acquitted and she is still in the jail. Even then, her nomination paper was submitted. It is easy to understand that they have submitted her nomination paper knowing that this will be rejected.
As they knew that the nomination of BNP chief will be rejected, they submitted nomination for Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir beside Khaleda from Bogura seat. When this was an issue of the party chief Begum Khaleda Zia, why should some other would be nominated there? Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has submitted nomination paper from Gopalgang-1 constituency. And nobody is nominated there from the same constituency.
For Rangpur-6, we submitted two alternate nominations, one for Sheikh Hasina and another for Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury. But the name of prime minister has already been withdrawn.
In Bhola, there is no second candidate. Similarly there is no second candidate in the constituency of Obaidul Quadir.
One of the candidates of a political party that was against EVM voting is now in favour of electronic system. He even went to the court seeking order for conducting vote in his seat through EVM. He announced if necessary he will bear the expenses for EVM. But court rejected his appeal. I think, the main reason behind his move was to create a ground so that if defeated he will use this as an excuse.
BNP’s main problem is it could not decide about choosing its nominees. Secondly they were confused as they did not know whose nominations will be eligible. Because of this, BNP submitted nominations against more than one candidate in most seats.
You know Amanullah Aman submitted nomination paper but the High Court earlier declared him ineligible to contest the election. Similarly Begum Khaleda Zia, Zahid were rejected. As a result, the number of rejected candidatures has increased. It is clear that this is nothing but an ill motive to make the elections controversial.