SM Mizanur Rahman
All focus is now on Upazila Council Elections scheduled to be held in March. Nomination seekers have already started lobbying to convince high commands of their respective parties.
For the first time in the history, the elections will take place on party lines in 492 upazilas in phases across the country where the candidates will contest with a political party’s registered symbol.
Therefore, many aspiring candidates have already started preparations to secure party nominations to contest the polls.
They are running early campaigns on social media expressing their desire for respective party tickets in the upcoming upazila elections. Candidates will contest for chairman, vice-chairman (general) and vice-chairman (women) posts.
Ruling Awami League’s nomination seekers are getting mentally prepared for the upcoming elections. However, no instructions, with respect to the Upazila Council Elections, have come from the party high command, according to the AL district units.
On the other hand, BNP is still undecided over their participation in the forthcoming elections.
Party leaders, who rejected the results of the just-concluded parliamentary election and demanded fresh polls under a non-partisan government, said they are busy with the task to determine its next course of action and are yet to discuss about upazila elections at the party forum.
The ruling Awami League secured absolute majority in the 11th parliamentary elections held on December 30 last year.
Mentionable, the EC has the power to hold the presidential and national elections but any other election has to be sanctioned by the government. The commission will take steps to administer the upazila elections after the Local Government Division (LGD) writes to them saying they are prepared to do so.
Accordingly, the EC has already sent a letter to the LGD seeking latest status and update of all upazilas. The first phase elections to some upazilas will be held in March.
Hence, the schedule of the election should be announced in February this year, if the election is held in March.
In 2014, elections in 487 upazilas were held in six phases between February and May.
According to electoral laws, election to any upazila council must be held at least 180 days before the tenure of the local government body expires.
The tenures of the upazila councils would expire next month. The first upazila polls were held in 1985, the second in 1990 and the third on January 22, 2009. And fourth upazila election was held in February in 2014, EC sources said.
The commission will hold meeting with the LGD and Education Ministry as the SSC and HSC examinations may coincide with the planned election dates.
“The EC will hold talks about the upazila polls and the SSC and HSC examinations with the ministries concerned. And the commission will try to hold the polls without disturbing the public examinations. They will have to hold the polls because there are legal obligations,” an EC official told Bangladesh Post.
He said the commission will also send letters to the regional and district election officers to know about the latest situation of their respective upazilas.
SSC examinations are scheduled for February 2 to February 25 while Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations are scheduled to begin from the first week of April.
SM Mizanur Rahman