Sheikh Hasina accused of violation of election code of conduct

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has violated the election code of conduct by using her official residence to hold a meeting to introduce party-backed mayor candidates,  Abdullah Al Kafi Ratan, who is in the race backed by the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), has alleged. Photo: bdnews24.com

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has allegedly violated electoral code of conduct by announcing names of Annisul Huq and Syeed Khokon as ruling Awami League’s mayoral candidates in the ensuing city corporation elections for Dhaka North and Dhaka South respectively.

A mayoral aspirant for Dhaka North and central committee member of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Abdullah Al Kafi Ratan, made the allegation on Saturday.

“Prime minsiter Sheikh Hasina introduced Annisul Huq and Syeed Khokon as her party candidates. This is a clear violation of electoral code of conduct,” Ratan said while submitting his nomination paper to the office of the returning officer in Agargaon. He also pointed out that the premier further asked other leaders of her party not to become candidates in city polls.

“Although it is unlawful to campaign after announcement of the polls schedule, the mayor aspirants of major parties are campaigning with posters and banners in different parts of the city. It’s a violation of the code of conduct,” he said drawing attention of the election commission to the matter.

He also demanded creation of a level-playing field for all candidates in the city elections.

Asked about this, secretary of the the election commission (EC) secretariat Sirajul Islam said he was not aware of such statement by the premier.

“But if any such thing happens, the commission will take necessary step,” the official said.

Asked if the law was similarly applicable for the prime minister, the EC secretary said, “We asked the returning officers to treat all candidates equally. They hold all the powers during the elections. We hope, they will ensure level-playing field in the elections.”

When his attention was drawn to the issue, the returning officer, Shah Alam, said, “We are determined to ensure free and fair elections. Nobody will be spared if found guilty of violating the code of conduct.”

He informed newsmen that the commission has issued show cause notices upon 23 candidates including a mayoral aspirant. Two magistrates are visiting the area and they will take necessary actions, he added.

Source: Prothom Alo

Image source: bdnews24