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Polls code: Commissioner gives PM clean chit over meeting with retired military officials

  • Published at 12:27 pm November 30th, 2018
A group of retired armed forces officers greet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with bouquets at Ganabhaban in Dhaka on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 BSS

'She is the prime minister, and Ganabhaban is her residence, where else she would meet people if not at her own place?'

An election commissioner on Friday said he does not believe Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina breached any electoral code of conduct by meeting with retired military officials.

More than 150 retired army officials on Tuesday endorsed Awami League pledged to work for the party’s victory for the 11th general election in prime minister’s presence during a program at Ganabhaban, which BNP later termed as a violation of electoral code of conduct.

While speaking to journalists at the commission’s headquarters in Dhaka’s Agargaon, Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam stressed that the meeting had nothing to do with Awami League’s campaigning trail. 

“The retired [military] officials met the prime minister to convey their support to her. Personally I don’t think it is a violation of the election code. She [Sheikh Hasina] is the prime minister, and Ganabhaban is her residence, where else she would meet people if not at her own place?”

Also Read- Over 150 retired military officers endorse Awami League

Although, admitting that a campaign program inside an official establishment is frowned upon, Rafiqul further said: “If it was an election campaign inside Bangabhaban or Ganabhaban, then we would have taken action.”

Earlier in the day, BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina violated the electoral code of conduct and created barriers towards ensuring a level-playing field by meeting the military officials.

“The prime minister’s campaigning activities using Ganabhaban, while enjoying all state-sponsored facilities, are making the upcoming election controversial,” he said during a press conference at BNP’s Naya Paltan headquarters.

The 11th general election is scheduled to take place on December 30.

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