The by-election for the post of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayor will be held on February 26.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda announced the schedule at the commission’s media centre on Tuesday. Other election commissioners, its acting secretary and the returning officers of two city corporations were present at the press conference.
The commission has fixed January 18 as the last date for the submission of the nomination papers while January 29 has been fixed for the withdrawal of nominations.
The Election Commission will arrange polls for the 36 councillor posts and 12 reserved seats in the 36 new wards on the same day.
According to the schedule, nomination papers will be scrutinized between January 21 and 22. The commission will allot electoral symbols on January 30.
The DNCC has some 2.95 million voters.
The DNCC mayoral post fell vacant with the death of Annisul Huq on November 30, 2017.
‘DNCC by-polls a challenge’
At Tuesday’s press conference, KM Nurul Huda said the election commission was giving the DNCC polls particular attention and was taking it as a challenge.
“We have taken up the election as a challenge and are putting special emphasis on it. I hope every party will take part in the poll and will stay till the last,” the CEC said.
He added that the commission was determined not to compromise on the holding of fair polls.
In response to a query, the CEC said all candidates were entitled to campaign and there was no bar from the EC on the matter.
He also said returning officials would take necessary action after analyzing evidence of those candidates who had already started using banners prior to the announcement of the schedule.
Election Comission Joint Secretary Abul Kashem will act as returning officer for the Dhaka North City Corporation and EC Regional Election Officer Rakib Uddin Mandal will be the equivalent for Dhaka South City Corporation.
‘EVMs being considered’
Regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the DNCC by-polls, KM Nurul Huda said they were being considered for two polling stations in the North and South city corporations.
“A decision on the EVMs will be taken after analyzing all perspectives,” he said.
The CEC added that CCTV cameras would be installed at polling centres deemed to be risky. “Everyone will be able to go to the polling centres safely and exercise their right to vote. I will urge everyone to come to the polling centres and cast their votes.”
Bobby Hajjaj’s Nationalist Democratic Movement party has nominated singer Shafin Ahmed, while Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has nominated its Dhaka north unit chief Md Selim Uddin as mayoral candidates for the DNCC by-polls.
Reports suggest Awami League has selected former BGMEA president Atiqul Islam as its mayoral candidate in the upcoming polls, although the party itself is yet to make a formal announcement.
Parts of this article were first published on Bangla Tribune