Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

Stay on DNCC by-polls

It was EC`s failure: Analysts say

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Reza Mahmud :
Political analysts said the stay order of High Court on Dhaka North City Corporation by-polls shows the poor ability and wide ranging weakness of the election commission in this gigantic task. It acted in haste without being sure that all legal loopholes were being properly addressed.
 "The election commission (EC) should not have declared election schedule before taking complete preparations to run the sensitive election for DNCC in the capital," Dr. Shahdeen Malik, senior lawyer of the Supreme Court told The New Nation on Thursday.
He said, institution like EC should always weigh in all preparations keeping high standard of its responsibilities and the liabilities before starting any electioneering process. Now DNCC election has been stayed and the EC is blamed for lack of far sight.
Former Election Commissioner, Brigadier General (rtd) Muhammad Sakhawat Hussain told The New Nation on Thursday, "The EC lawyers have failed to present their logics properly before the court. They should have presented a strong defense. There were many ways to escape the stay order to hold the by-polls," he said.
He advised the EC to file petition against the stay order to the appellate division of the Supreme Court and go with full home work to vacate the stay. It depends much how skillfully you make your case, he said. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN) told the daily on Thursday, "The EC claim they have prepared the voter lists completely but the citizens including the petitioners claimed they were not included in the voter lists. We are really puzzled where lies the truth. Who is to be blamed? But the most important thing is that all citizens should be listed in the voter list so that they can exercise their franchise by taking part in electing representatives of their choice. "
He said the concerned authorities should make the matter clear before the citizens.   
Md. Atiqul Islam the mayoral candidate of DNCC from the ruling party Awami League, said he will abide the decision of the party and the EC in this regards.
On the other hand, Tabith Awal, the BNP's mayoral candidate said the matter is "painful, it is really painful." He said there were many ways to escape halting the polls. But the EC has not taken any strong step in this regard. He hoped the EC would take steps soon to reverse the stay.
BNP leaders blamed the government for using EC's weakness as an exit from the polls on legal ground. The government fears greater risk of losing the polls to BNP candidate.  
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the Secretary General of the BNP said, "The HC stay order proved that the EC was incompetent and irresponsible. It even announced the election schedule without consulting anyone and without plugging the loopholes," he said to a group of journalists yesterday.
BNP leader Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal even feared the government hands behind the writs to get the stay to avoid facing DNCC election least they fail to win. It will have devastating effect on national election, he said.
On the other hand, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said, "AL had nothing to do with the HC order. The government is not involved in this. We don't believe in dirty politics."
The High Court on Wednesday stayed the DNCC election for three months citing legal issues and asked the government to correct the situation within the stipulated time.
A two-member HC bench comprising Justice Naima Haydar and Justice Zafar Ahmed passed the order.
Earlier, on Tuesday two separate writ petitions were filed with the HC seeking stay of the DNCC by-polls. The petitioners from the newly added wards in the city corporation filed the writs on the ground of incomplete voter lists which barred them from contesting the polls.
Besides, the High Court on Thursday stayed the process of holding elections to the councillors' post of 18 new wards in Dhaka South City Corporation.
The elections were also scheduled to be held on February 26 with the DNCC by-polls.
The HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Faruque came up with the order and the rule following a writ petition filed by Mozammel Mia, a voter of Demra union, challenging the legality of the election schedule on some other grounds.

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