Senior Correspondent, Dhaka
Awami League sent a letter to the Dhaka Divisional Commissioner’s office last Sunday for permission to hold a rally in Dhaka on December 10. On the eve of the election, a large gathering of people was also prepared around this program of the ruling party. But the election commission did not allow such a program at this time. The ruling party was forced to cancel the rally.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader told reporters on Tuesday, “We have applied to the Election Commission. They did not accept that request. the fear a showdown over the name of the gathering outside. We are not doing the rally now.” The general secretary of the ruling party also said that Awami League will not go beyond the election rules.
An important message before the election has become clear through this directive of the EC, and that is, they will play a strong role for the sake of fair elections this time.
Earlier, the EC ordered the transfer of UNOs and OCs. The commission has clarified that DC-SPs will not be exempted if complaints are raised.
Besides, strict action is being taken against violation of code of conduct. In the meantime, several members of parliament including four ministers-state ministers have been show caused. The four ministers are – candidate for Narayanganj-1 (Rupganj) constituency, textile and jute minister Golam Dastgir Gazi; Candidate for Gazipur-2 Constituency, Minister of State for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russell; Candidate for Dhaka-19 constituency, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr. Enamur Rahman; Awami League’s candidate for Natore-3 seat, Minister of State for Information and Communications Junaid Ahmed Palak.
Former election commissioner Mohammad Shahnewaz said, I think the commission is taking all measures to make this election neutral. Due to the transfer of UNOs and OCs, the administration will be forced to perform its duties properly. The former election commissioner also believes that the commission has created the biggest example of neutrality by not allowing the gathering of the government party.
Changes in field administration
The Election Commission (EC) has ordered the transfer of all Police Station Officers (OCs) and Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) in a phased manner.
In the first phase of transfer, the period of service for OCs has been fixed at six months in the present post, while for UNOs it has been made one year. That is, those who have been serving as executive officers in the same upazila for one year or more, they have been ordered to be transferred in the first step.
Ministry of Public Administration and Police Headquarters have started transfer of UNOs and OCs step by step as per EC directives.
The Ministry of Public Administration has also listed the UNOs in accordance with the directives of the EC. Among the 207 UNOs in the list, there are 49 in Dhaka Division, 15 in Mymensingh, 12 in Barisal, 21 in Sylhet, 17 in Rangpur, 27 in Rajshahi, 48 in Chittagong and 18 in Khulna Division.
The police headquarters listed 326 OCs. Among them, 33 people from Dhaka Metropolitan Police, 60 people from Dhaka Range, 20 people from Sylhet Range, 28 people from Rangpur Range, 21 people from Barisal Range, 38 people from Khulna Range, three people from Rangpur Metropolitan Police, 23 people from Mymensingh Range, four people from Khulna Metropolitan Police and Chittagong There are five members of the Metropolitan Police.
Election Commissioner Anisur Rahman said that DC SPs will be transferred if necessary to make the 12th National Assembly elections fair and neutral. He said that till now no decision has been taken to transfer the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and Superintendent of Police (SP). However, two deputy commissioners have been transferred. Then wherever DC-SP transfer is required, we will do so.
Strict message on code of conduct
Awami League Member of Parliament Shafiqul Islam Shimul has again received party nomination for Natore-2 constituency. On November 28, Shimul held a public meeting and procession in his constituency, causing traffic jams, which the EC considered a violation of the code of conduct.
As a result, the Natore-2 Election Investigation Committee headed by Assistant Judge Sharmin Khatun issued a show cause notice seeking explanation.
In response, the MP promised not to repeat the offense and on 1 December the inquiry committee decided to recommend to the EC for his discharge. However, it also hinted that strict action would be taken against any violation of the code of conduct in the future.
Cricketer Shakib Al Hasan was not left out of the list. As of Sunday evening, the Election Investigation Committee has issued show cause notices to 62 candidates for violating the code of conduct. Shakib was one of them. Most of these candidates are from the ruling Awami League. Even the General Secretary of the Workers Party, an important partner of the 14-party alliance, Fazle Hossain Badsha has also been mourned by the EC.
Former Election Commissioner Mohammad Shahnewaz thinks that the EC wanted to give a strong message about the code of conduct at the beginning of the election process, that is, they will be most strict in enforcing the law if necessary in this election. This matter is most important for a fair election.
EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath said, in each case, the investigation committees formed based on the constituencies are supposed to recommend the Election Commission to take necessary measures. The commission will take necessary action after receiving the recommendation, he said.