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Rebel Awami League candidates can now contest the upazila elections

  • Published at 09:14 pm February 20th, 2019
WEB_Election_Vote-cast_Syed-Zakir-Hossain_Edited_08.11.2018
File photo of a voter casting ballot during an election in Bangladesh Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

According to Awami League sources, the upazila election will lose its charm and seem less competitive because of BNP’s absence

Awami League, during the 11th parliamentary elections took a strong stance against rebel candidates but that stance seems to have softened for the up-coming upazila parisad elections due to be held in March. 

The ruling party’s arch political rival BNP’s declaration to boycott the upazila elections has come as a blessing to many who were unable to secure Awami League nominations. They can now campaign, based on their popularity, against nominated candidates.   

According to Awami League sources, the upazila election will lose its charm and seem less competitive because of BNP’s absence. 

“To show the election is competitive, the Awami League high command will not interfere in rebel candidate issues in the upazila elections,” said a member of the Awami League local government nomination board to the Dhaka Tribune, seeking anonymity. 

According to the election schedule, the Election Commission (EC) will hold the first phase of the Upazila Parishad Elections on March 10. This is the first time upazila election candidates will contest with party symbols. 

According to sources there are no opposition candidates in 17 upazilas where Awami League party men are contesting against party nominated candidates in 50 upazilas.

Speaking to this correspondent, several rebel candidates said the party high command has given the green signal for them to contest the elections, to show the election is indeed participatory. 

However, the Awami League high command has officially said they have taken strict action against rebel candidates.

Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said only 17 rebel candidates contested in the 11th parliamentary elections held on December 30 last, which was not a big issue for the party. 

“There will be no rebel candidate in the upazila elections. If anyone goes against the party decision, they will be punished,” said Quader to journalists recently.

So far the Awami League has nominated its candidates for 209 upazilas and the rest will be declared on February 22.

As per the schedule, the last date for nomination submission is March 4. Scrutiny will take place on March 6 and the last date for withdrawal of candidacy is on March 13.

On January 22, the EC secretary announced that upazila elections will be held in five phases starting March this year. According to the EC schedule, the first phase of the election will be held on March 10, the second phase on March 18, and the third phase on March 24.