Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) – Supporters of some nomination ‘deprived aspirants’ of BNP on Saturday evening attacked party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office and staged demonstration there.
Several hundred supporters BNP international affairs secretary ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon (Chandpur-1), Taimur Alam Khandaker (Narayanganj-1) and Selimuzzamn Selim (Gopalganj-1) gathered in front of Khaleda’s office around 5:30pm and started demonstrating there.
They chanted slogans against BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir for what they said depriving their leaders of nominations.
The protesters demanded the party nominate their respective leaders as it candidates reviewing its decision.
At one stage, they tried to break the two gates of the office in their bid to enter it.
They also hurled stones at the office, damaging its windowpanes.
Fakhrul, BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Nazrul Islam Khan and some other party leaders were there in the office during the demonstration.
Earlier in the day, Ehsanul Haque Milon’s supporters kept BNP central office under lock and key for nearly an hour protesting the party’s decision not to pick him its candidate for Chandpur-1 seat.
The protesters unlocked the BNP central office’s main gate around 2:15pm giving the party high-command a 12-hour deadline to review the decision on the party’s final candidate for Chandpur-1 constituency.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) - The Election Commission on Saturday upheld returning officers' decisions cancelling the candidature of jailed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for forthcoming national election.
On the basis of majority opinions of the five election commissioners, the Commission pronounced its judgment turning down Khaleda's petitions filed to get back her candidacy in Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7 constituencies.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and three election commissioners --Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury -- rejected Khaleda's appeals, while election commissioner MahbubTalukder accepted her candidature.
Later, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed announced the Commission's judgment around 5:55pm rejecting the BNP chairperson's three petitions by 4-1 votes. "The petitions were rejected by 4-1 votes," he added.
Earlier in the day, the EC, the appellate authority, heard the three petitions for 22 minutes from 12:38pm.
During the hearing, Khaleda's counsel AJ Mohammad Ali argued that the grounds for cancellation of her nomination papers were not lawful as the article 12 (1) (d) of the Representation of the People Order 1972 (RPO) can be applied only for electoral offences.
Following the argument, the quasi judiciary body, EC, decided to announce its judgment after 5pm.
Before pronouncing the verdict, the court invited petitioner's lawyers to take part in the hearing again.
AJ Mohammad Ali along with Zaniul Abedin and Mahbub Uddin Khokon started placing their arguments before the Commission.
Awami League Advisory Council member and Supreme Court lawyer Yusuf Hossain Humayun along with his fellow lawyers tried to draw the electoral tribunal's attention and placed arguments countering Khaleda's lawyers.
Immediately after the argument, election commissioner Mahbub Talukder said he reviewed legal grounds of Khaleda Zia's petitions filed against the cancellation of her nomination papers for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7 by the returning officers. "I declare my judgment in favour of accepting the petitions of Begum Khaleda Zia considering the legal grounds," he said.
With the announcement of Mahbub Talukder's judgment, BNP lawyers were seen cheerful and celebrating their victory in the legal fight, while AL lawyers were showing their anger.
At this stage, the EC Secretary urged all to be calm, saying it was not the complete judgment, rather the opinion of one commissioner only.
Amid the hue and cry, election commissioner Rafiqul Islam started delivering his judgment. In his judgment, he said, "No convicted person can contest the election according to the article 66 of the Constitution. On this ground, the petitions of Khaleda Zia have not been accepted."
Election commissioner Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury also passed the similar judgment.
Supporting Rafiqul Islam and Shahadat Hossain's judgments, another election commissioner Kabita Khanam said, "Begum Khaleda Zia is in jail being convicted for moral turpitude. Her conviction was not stayed. Her petitions have not been accepted considering the spirit of the returning officers’ decisions that cancelled her nomination papers."
Finally, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said, "I handed down the judgment supporting three persons -- my commissioners Rafiqul Islam, Shahadat Hossain and Kabita Khanam."
Then the EC Secretary declared the EC's judgment over the three petitions of Khaleda Zia.
On December 2, returning officers accepted a total of 2,279 nomination papers and rejected 786 others filed to run the general election from the country's 300 constituencies.
Subsequently, 543 petitions, including three of Khaleda Zia, were filed with the Election Commission seeking that the decisions of returning officers be overturned.
The EC started disposing of the petitions following hearing on Thursday.
Now, the BNP chairperson has the scope to go to the High Court to seek redress against the EC's judgment.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) – Describing the next general election as very important for establishing a sustainable democratic governance system, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the rebel candidates of her party to withdraw their candidacies in favour of the Grand Alliance contestants.
“The 11th parliamentary elections are very important for establishing a sustainable democratic governance system saving the nation and the country from the ferocious clutch of the BNP-Jamaat clique. So, we’ve decided to take part in the election in alliance with the like-minded parties,” she said in a letter issued on Friday.
“I specially request you to make all-out efforts to ensure the victory of the Grand Alliance candidate withdrawing your candidacy for the sake of holding the election unitedly. Your sacrifice, labour and sincerity are in my consideration,” Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League President, further said.
She expressed sorry to the rebel candidates for not nominating them from the party due to the decisions of the AL Parliamentary Board and specific nomination process although their contributions are very appreciable to turning Awami League as a strong and welfare-oriented political party.
The Prime Minister also said if Awami League wins the forthcoming national election, they (rebel candidates) will also be a partner of the win. “I can say for sure no one has the organisational strength to defeat ‘Boat’ if Awami League remains united,” she said in the letter.
She expressed the hope that the organisational skills, strength and capability of the rebel candidates in favour of the AL and Grand Alliance contestants in their respective constituency will ensure Awami League’s victory.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) –Though the supporters of their some ‘nomination deprived’ aspirants are expressing anger, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Saturday said party leaders and activists will work together for the candidates of ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
“There’re some reactions among the party leaders and activists over the nominations. There’s nothing new. Those who have finally been picked as candidates are very popular and have close relations with the people of their respective areas,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, Rizvi further said, “Our leaders and activists are with the candidates who are getting the Sheaf of Paddy, and will remain so in the days to come.”
Earlier in the morning, the supporters of BNP international affairs secretary ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon staged demonstration in front of the party’s central office as he was not given the final nomination from Chandpur-1 seat.
At one stage, they also locked into a fight at the main gate of the BNP office registering their protest against depriving Milon of the party ticket.
They also talked to Rizvi and expressed their anger as party leader Mosharraf Hossain was made candidate for Chandpur-1 instead of Milon, now in jail.
On Friday night, BNP’s late secretary general Khandaker Dewar Hossain’s son Abdul Hamid Dablu along with his supporters demonstrated in front of BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office as SA Jinnah Kabir was given party nomination from Manikganj-1 depriving him.
At the press conference, Rizvi hoped that their chairperson’s nomination will be announced valid by the Election Commission (EC) after appeal hearing.
He alleged that the returning officers unlawfully cancelled the three nominations of their chairpersons as part of a government’s ‘plot’.
“We urge the Election Commission to ensure justice for Khaleda Zia. She’ll surely get back her candidature if the EC take fair decision following the Constitution and laws,” the BNP leader said.
He also called upon the Commission to take steps for ensuring a level-playing field and stopping the arrest of opposition leaders and activists.
Dhaka, Dec 8 (UNB) –The Election Commission on Saturday kept the decisions pending until 5pm today (Saturday) on the petitions filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Krishak Sramik Janata League President Kader Siddiqui.
After hearing on their petitions, the Commission kept pending the decisions on their appeals until 5 pm.
Khaleda Zia filed nomination papers for three constituencies --Bogura-6 and 7 and Feni-1-- while Kader Siddiqui for two --Tangail-4 and 8.
Talking to reporters’ Khaleda Zia's lawyer Zainul Abedin said, "The nomination papers of Khaleda Zia were canceled by Returning Officers saying that she violated 12 (1d) of RPO. According to that law, the cancellation of Khaleda Zia's nomination is illegal."
“That's why we appealed to the EC. Hearing our statement about the law, the EC didn’t give any decision that time. They said that they will announce their decision at 5pm."
Expressing optimism about Khaleda’s participation in the election, he said that legally Khaleda has no problem to take part in the election. "We hope the Election Commission will give fair decision at 5pm,"he added.
“This election is more important than the others. People want to cast their vote. The Election Commission will have to ensure the environment so that people can cast their votes comfortably. I will thank the EC if my petition is accepted. Despite rejection of my petition, I will also thank the EC if they hold the election in a free and fair manner,” said Kader while talking to reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban.
Besides, the Election Commission declared invalid the nomination of BNP candidate from Chattogram-5 constituencyMir Mohammad HelalUddin on the last day of hearing petitions against the Returning Officers’ decision.
The Election Commission resumed its hearing for the last day at 10am petitions filed against the decisions of the returning officers over the rejection and acceptance of nomination papers in different constituencies.
The EC will hear and dispose of the remaining 233 petitions, including three of jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The returning officers accepted a total of 2,279 nomination papers and cancelled 786 others submitted in the 300 constituencies of the country.
A total of 543 petitions were filed with the EC, the appellate authority, seeking that the decisions of returning officers be overturned.
The Commission started its hearing and disposing of the petitions on Thursday.
The EC heard a total of 310 petitions in the first two days.
So far, some 158 aspirants, including BNP's 60, got back their candidatures with the EC's judgment.
If anyone is even aggrieved with the EC's judgment, the person can to go to the High Court seeking redress.
The last date for withdrawal of the candidature is December 9.
In case of multiple candidates in a single constituency, a political party will have to inform the returning officer and the Election Commission about its final contender for the parliamentary seat by December 9.