One of the election commissioners Rafiqul Islam is opposing the decision of holding the vote amid the pandemic
The by-elections to Sylhet-3, Dhaka-14 and Comilla-5 constituencies will be held on July 14, according to the schedule declared by the Election Commission (EC).
The last day for submission of nomination papers is June 15. Selection of nomination papers is on June 16, the last day for withdrawal being June 23, while symbols will be allotted on June 24.
EC Secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khandaker announced the schedule following a meeting at the EC building in Agargaon. He also declared that the by-polls to 371 union parishads, 11 municipalities and Laxmipur-2 constituency would be held on June 21.
Asked whether the Health Ministry had been consulted about the election, the official avoided a direct answer, and said that the EC would issue instructions on campaigning and voting in accordance with health rules.
Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam also said he was not aware of the Health Ministry’s opinion on the vote.
He told Bangla Tribune: "I am against this voting during the coronavirus situation.
“I voted in favour of the elections that are constitutionally necessary. In the case of others, I voted to defer the process, but the chief election commissioner and others [commissioners] have decided to hold the election on the strength of majority opinion.”
The seats became vacant due to the death of members of parliament. Among them, Sylhet-3 MP Mahmud Us Samad died on March 11, Dhaka-14 MP Aslamul Haque on April 4 and Comilla-5 MP Abdul Matin Khasru on April 14.
As voting in these constituencies was not possible in the first 90 days, the polls would take place in the subsequent 90 days after their death. However, if the EC wants, this vote can be postponed for a few more days.
By-polls in 371 unions
The first phase of the by-polls which had been postponed in 371 union parishads, 11 municipalities and Laxmipur-2 constituency will be held on June 21.
The EC secretary said that candidates would be able to begin campaigns once the notification was issued.
Earlier, the polling was scheduled for April 11 but was postponed due to the rise in Covid-19 infections.