Stalwarts of the Awami League and BNP, in separate programs in Dhaka on Friday, have blamed each other for a High Court order that halted the by-election to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayoral post and elections to the councillor posts in 18 new wards for three months.
The Election Commission suspended all proceedings of the polls the same day following the order.
The ruling party’s Publicity and Publication Secretary Hasan Mahmud said the court order was the culmination of a BNP conspiracy.
“The DNCC by-election has been halted over petitions filed by the chairmen of Bhatara and Beraid unions, both of whom are BNP leaders. It was another BNP leader named Kamruzzaman whose petition also led to the stay order on the DSCC election,” Hasan said at a discussion in National Press Club in the afternoon.
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Awami League leader Hasan Mahmud speaking at the discussion at National Press Club on January 19, 2018 | Focus Bangla
“We had finalized mayoral and councillor candidates for the elections, but could not officially announce them, whereas BNP only finalized its mayoral runner. They plotted to delay the polls as they could not select their councillor candidates,” he alleged.
Earlier in the morning, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the Election Commission and the Ministry of Law had conspired to have the DNCC by-polls halted.
Talking to reporters at the city’s Chandrima Udyan before paying tribute at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave, he said the commission had utterly failed in carrying out its duties as they announced the election schedule without taking care of the legal matters concerning the by-polls.
“This also proves that the Election Commission is incompetent and they did this [halted the elections] after conspiring with the Ministry of Law.”
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Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir opens a photo exhibition at BNP's Naya Paltan headquarters on January 19, 2018 | Focus Bangla
Fakhrul said: “It is clear that Awami League would have lost if the DNCC election took place. That is why they [the government] filed the writ petitions and had the polls stayed.”
Regarding the ruling party’s allegations that the petitions filed by BNP leaders had led to the court’s stay orders, he said: “They are trying to gloss over their wrongdoing. Who filed the petitions is not important. Why had those been filed in the first place and why was the election halted?
“Because the demarcation process of the new unions in the city corporation are yet to be finished. Voter lists are yet to be finalized. That is why DNCC election has been postponed.”
In another program in the morning at the National press Club, BNP Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed also alleged that the Awami League had played an indirect role behind the court ruling as it knew it would lose in the DNCC by-polls.
At the National Council of the student wing of Jatiya Ganatantrik Party, Moudud said: “The hearing of the petition regarding the DNCC election was adjourned until the next day. The court had ordered the (state’s) attorney to present his argument that day.
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Moudud Ahmed at the National Council of Jatiya Ganatantrik Party's student wing at the National Press Club on January 19, 2018 | Focus Bangla
“But the attorney did not appear for that hearing. This proves that the government indirectly had the election halted.”
Another High Court division bench on Thursday also halted the elections to Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) ward councillor posts in 18 new wards for four weeks.
While the Election Commission denied allegations that it was their negligence that led to the postponement of the by-elections, experts repeatedly expressed concerns over possible legal complications after the polls schedule was announced on December 17, 2017.
The elections on both city corporations were set to take place on February 26.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com