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>polls to upazila from May

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>THE long overdue polls to upazila parishads will start being held in May, six months ahead of the timeframe stipulated in the electoral roadmap of the Election Commission (EC), LGRD adviser Anwarul Iqbal said yesterday.
Iqbal at an event in Khulna disclosed the government’s plan saying elections to 100 of the 482 upazila parishads will start being held in May as voter registration in 80 upazilas has already been completed.
Voter registration in the rest of the 20 upazilas is also scheduled to be completed in the next couple of days, and the commission is currently preparing to begin publication of draft voter lists of the upazilas, to have the final electoral rolls with photographs ready in a month, sources in the EC Secretariat said.
So elections to some upazila parishads can be held by the end of May through lifting or relaxing the state of emergency in the areas, the sources added.
Political leaders holding party posts however might not be allowed to contest in the upazila parishad elections, as the EC has a plan to break free the crucial tier of the local government system from the grip of partisan politics, the EC sources said.
If the EC’s plans are made into laws, political leaders holding party posts will have to resign from the posts before filing for candidacies in upazila elections.
The EC already drafted proposals for barring political leaders holding party posts from contesting in polls to city corporations and municipalities, and it plans to draft similar proposals for the upazila elections too, the sources said.
The council of advisers to the caretaker government on January 27 this year decided in principle to revoke the hitherto authority of the members of parliament (MP) to interfere in the functioning of upazila parishads, by amending the Upazila Parishads Law 1998.
The council also decided at that meeting, to re-empower the EC with its lost authority to announce the schedules for upazila parishad elections, taking it back from the hands of the central government, but the government has yet to finalise it.
Against such a backdrop, the LGRD adviser, who on Monday had met the EC to discuss holding of the local government elections, yesterday specified the timeframe for starting to hold the elections.
Election commissioners — Muhammed Sohul Hussain and Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hussain — however told journalists yesterday that the EC has yet to decide when the upazila elections will be held.
(Read The Daily Star report)


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