The government is set to take initiative for holding the elections to the local government bodies on party basis.
These elections used to be held so long on non-party basis, but the system is going to be changed at last and to this end, the existing law will be amended.
According to sources in the government and the ruling party, if the government initiative is implemented, the candidates will contest the next Pourasabha (municipality) and Union Parishad (UP) elections with the electoral symbol of the registered political parties.
The next Pourasabha and UP elections are supposed to be held in between December and January next.
However, local government minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain said that the polls will have to be delayed for two months, should these be arranged on party basis.
Party sources said, speaking at the Awami League central executive committee meeting on September 11, party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke of the plan to hold the next Pourasabha and Union Parishad(UP) elections on party basis. She said the local government elections ultimately do not take place on non-party basis which is a violation of the law. So, the law in this regard needs to be changed, she added.
The prime minister while speaking of the possibility of the local government elections on party basis, asked the leaders and workers of the Awami League to take highest preparations to project the popularity of the party. She also directed the central leaders to take steps for massive publicity of the government’s development activities.
Asked to comment on the issue, local government minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain on Sunday said, “I have not yet received any formal directive on holding the local government elections on party basis. However, I shall seek unofficially the prime minister’s directive in this regard at the cabinet meeting tomorrow (Monday). If she gives opinion in favour of party-basis election then through a press conference we shall let all know the matter and start to work on it. The law has to be amended to hold the elections on party basis.”
The minister further said that if the elections were to be arranged on party basis, the polling will take place in March instead of January. The completion of the process of amending the law will take this time.
Awami League presidium member Kazi Zafarullah said the government is thinking of holding the next UP elections under the party banner. There are some complexities in this regard and that will be removed by amending the law, he added.
He also mentioned that the candidates of the AL will contest the elections with the party symbol ‘boat’.
In the opinion of the leaders of different political parties, the local government elections should be held on party basis as these now take place under the party banner although law provides for non-party basis polls.
BNP standing committee member Lt. Gen.(Retd) Mahbubur Rahman said, “In many countries including India and the USA, the local government elections are held on party basis. This can be done in our country also.”
Workers’ Party President Rashed Khan Menon and CPB President Mujaheedul Islam Selim also said the local government elections should be held on party basis.