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Complaints against AL men swamp EC

Edit Date:12/30/2010 12:00:00 AM



Khadimul Islam

Complaints of violation of code of conduct, intimidation and harassment of rival candidates in the municipal polls by the supporters of ruling party backed candidates and demands for army deployment have started piling up at the Election Commission secretariat.
   Election commissioner M Sakhawat Hussain on Thursday admitted that the commission was receiving five to seven hundred letters with demands for army
   deployment and complaints – mostly against ruling party men –everyday.
   He, however, said that most of the complaints did not have any specific information about intimidation and violation of code of conduct. ‘The commission has already taken steps about the cases where there are specific allegations. Besides, the commission is reviewing some complaints,’ he said.
   Sakhawat said that the Election Commission had earlier requested the ruling party men not to create problems in the municipal polls.
   Elections to 259 out of 310 municipalities would be held between January 22 and 18 across the country. Sakhawat said he thought political parties have an influence on the local polls though these are non-partisan elections.
   Supporters of the Awami League-backed mayoral candidates in three municipalities in Magura and Jhenaidah attacked their rivals on Wednesday injuring at least 17 persons. The attackers also damaged five motorcycles and five houses of the supporters of rival candidates.
   A number of complaints submitted to the Election Commission said that Returning Offices and local administration in different places were working in favour of Awami League-backed candidates. The Election Commission has already asked the police administration to withdraw two officers-in-charge from Mirpur in Kushtia and Raozan.
   Abu Taleb, mayoral candidate of Parshuram municipality in Feni, in his complaint said that his rival Nazim Uddin Chowdhury had been using the local administration and the name of his cousin Alauddin Chowdhury Nasim, former protocol officer of prime minister Sheikh Hasina. He alleged that 17 aspirants had collected nomination forms for the mayoral race, and only two – he and Nazim Uddin – submitted nominations. He earlier lodged a complaint with the Upazila Nirbahi Officer and the police officer-in-charge. He demanded deployment of troops at least seven days before the polling day in his area.
   Some mayoral candidates in different municipalities alleged that local lawmakers and ministers were taking part in the electioneering in violation of the code of conduct and trying to the influence the polls.
   Maksud Ahmed Bayezid Panna, a mayoral candidate for Patuakhali municipality, alleged that state minister for religious affairs Md Shahjahan Mia had visited Patuakhali to take part in the electioneering for his son who was also a candidate for the mayoral post.
   Mohammad Kamal Hossain Biswas, who is in the race for Sujanagar municipal mayor in Pabna, alleged that his rival was trying to intimidate his supporters. The commission also received a number of similar allegations by mayoral candidates from different places, including in Savar, Lalmohan and Ramgarh municipalities.

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