People losing confidence in election system, says Shujan

29 March, 2016 12:00 AM printer

Describing the first phase of Union Parishad (UP) election a perverted one, Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) on Monday said people are losing their confidence in the country’s election system, reports UNB.
“I want to call this election as a perverted one. Justice Badrul Haider Chowdhury in a Supreme Court verdict had said a voter-less and perverted election destroys democracy. We think we’re pushing our democratic system towards destruction,” said Shujan secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar.
Addressing a press conference of Shujan on the first phase of UP polls at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), he also said, “People are losing their confidence in the election system which will not bring good for the country.
Baduil Alam said the ‘nomination trade’ has spread out to the grassroots in the UP polls, while there is a strong apprehension that the election violence that happened this time will break all the pervious records. “The type of violence is also different this time as ruling party men are increasingly fighting with each other.”
He also said the UP election was not competitive at all. “It’s natural to term the election a perverted one considering the rate of candidates elected without contest.”
According to Shujan, around 27 people were killed and over 3,500 injured in pre- and post-election violence.
“Violence used to take place in such local body polls during the 80s and the 90s. The trend had almost come under control after 2008, but it now has marked a sharp rise,” Badiul Alam added.
He said there has been a rise in violence and election irregularities as the polls are now being held along party line.
The Shujan secretary came down hard on the Election Commission for its denial to shoulder the responsibility for the widespread polls violence, suggesting it to retreat from holding the second phase of UP polls as it is unable to do that. “Who will take the blame if the Election Commission refuses to do so?”
He said the EC must take the responsibility for the election irregularities and violence to prevent recurrence of the incidents.  “If the CEC and his deputies don’t take the blame… we must appoint such people to those posts who will shoulder the responsibility and be able to ensure fair polls,” Badiul Alam observed.
He further said, “If the EC doesn’t get cooperation from the administration and law enforcers, they can easily say the Local Government Ministry that we won’t arrange the election under such a situation.”
Earlier on Sunday, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said there is no reason for the Election Commission to shoulder the responsibility for any fight between two local groups in the UP elections.
“If any two groups from two neighbouring homes, or two houses or two localities engage in fighting, I don’t see there is any direct reason for the Election Commission to take the responsibility for it,” he told reporters replying to a question at his Election Commission Secretariat office.
In a written speech, Shujan central coordinator Dilip Kumar Sarker said the elections to 712 UPs in the first phase were held amid huge violence.
He said there were violence and election irregularities in 32 districts among 36 where the polls were held.
Dilip said the role of the EC was questionable from the very beginning of the election process. “The EC was never seen taking any steps with courage and impartiality on the basis of law.”
He said they observed that many candidates of BNP and Awami League rebels could not file their nominations due to prevention, intimidation, and snatching and damaging of their forms. “Some others were also forced to withdraw their nominations.”