first_imgnonameRuling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) has decided to see a test of its main rival, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in the election to two city corporations, according to senior AL leaders.A central leader said they are taking preparations to hold elections in Gazipur and Khulna city corporations to assess the popularity of the BNP, before elections elsewhere.The election schedules of Gazipur and Khulna city corporations will be announced on 31 March, the election commission’s secretary Helal Uddin told journalists. The elections may be held in May.In fact, party leaders indicated, the ruling AL has no interest in holding elections to city corporations before the all-important national elections to be held at the year end.The AL could not forget its 2013 experience, when its mayoral candidates all five city corporation elections to the BNP nominees.The AL, however, wants to see how the BNP’s capacity without its chairperson Khaleda Zia campaigning in Gazipur and Khulna city corporation elections.On the basis of results of these two city corporations, the government will make plans for the elections to the rest of the city corporations where tenures of office-bearers are schedule to expire.Accordingly, the election commission can hold elections to Gazipur City Corporation any time. It can hold elections to Khulna City Corporation after 30 March.The elections to Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) can be held after 9 April, in Sylhet after 11 April and in Barisal after 27 April.According to the EC and the government, there is no legal issue that can halt elections to five city corporations. It is possible to hold elections to all five city corporations simultaneously after Eid-ul-Fitr.However, apart from the AL’s reluctance to hold elections to all city corporations at a time, the ruling party is focusing on the process of national elections that is expected to begin after Eid-ul-Fitr to be celebrated in June.Earlier, the EC announced the schedule of by-elections to Dhaka North City Corporation on 26 February. Following a court order, the election was halted. The DNCC mayoral post fell vacant after the death of Annisul Huq.Elections to RCC, KCC, SCC and BCC were held in June of 2013 ahead of the 10th national elections held in 5 January of 2014 and all AL candidates were defeated then. The AL also lost the GCC elections held in July of 2013. BNP candidates won mayoral posts of all five city corporations.According to the AL’s own assessment, the party is not in a position to beat the BNP in elections to the five city corporations.A central leader of AL, preferring not to be named, said the people criticised the government for not holding elections to DNCC out of fear of defeat after the election was halted by a court order.The government will be liable if the elections to other city corporations are halted as well, the leader said adding the BNP has claimed that their popularity has increased after the former prime minister was sent to jail in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.The ruling party leader said they want to see whether the BNP joins the elections and how they perform in the elections.Some of the AL leaders believe the AL’s position is better in Gazipur this time while the position of BNP is better in Khulna. If the party wins at least one of two city corporations elections, their prestige will be saved, the leaders feel.AL presidium member and member of nomination board for local government elections, Abdur Razzak told Prothom Alo, “There was no formal discussion over the city corporation elections. Formal process can’t be started before the announcement of the election schedule.”He said the AL is not scared of elections. AL candidates will also win in the city corporation elections as the party has brought about massive development in the country in the past nine years, Razzak expressed his optimism.Elections to three city corporations were held in one and half years. The AL candidate won in Naryanganj, the BNP in Comilla and Jatiya Party in Rangpur. The AL was sure of winning Narayanganj for personal image of Selina Hyat Ivy.AL was not interested in holding elections to DNCC as there was no ‘guarantee’ of its win in the elections.      The ruling party has unofficially directed some aspirants to work for city corporation elections. Of them, former mayor of Sylhet City Corporation Badruddin Ahmed Kamran and Rajshahi city unit president AHM Khairuzzaman Liton have received green signal from party president, prime minister Sheikh Hasina.AL central leaders asked Gazipur city AL leader Jahangir Alam to work for the upcoming elections.Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, son of prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s cousin and Barisal AL president Abul Hasnat Abdullah, and Hasina’s cousin Sheikh Jewel are in talks to get nomination for the election respectively from Barisal and Khulna.Former city mayor Talukdar Abdul Khalek is also a contender for the party nomination in Khulna. But, he is a member of parliament from Bagerhat-3 constituency. If he wants to participate in the city corporation election, he has to resign as MP.“I’m not interested in participating in the election,” he said. “Despite development works, I lost the city corporation election. So, I no more want to go back there,” he added.On the contrary, Sheikh Jewel is yet to participate in any elections.In Gazipur, city AL president Azmat Ullah Khan and general secretary Jahangir Alam are hopeful of winning the party ticket.In the last Gazipur city polls, held on 6 July, 2013, Azmat Ullah Khan was the AL candidate while Jahangir Alam contested the polls as a rebel candidate.According to party insiders, Jahangir has been instructed to work for the elections.“I’ve been working since the last city corporation election. I was also told to work for the polls. Other formalities will start after the schedule of the election is announced,’’ he told Prothom Alo. * This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Imam Hossainlast_img read more

first_imgbclRuling Bangladesh Awami League’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) has conducted raids in several student dormitories in search of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir activists.During the four-hour long raid beginning from Sunday night in different dormitories of the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology aka CUET, the student organisation had also detained five activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir although they managed to escape from the ruling party activists after four hours of detention.The university authorities have called the BCL raid in their dormitories unwarranted.Sources in the BCL said a group of BCL activists belonging to the group of CUET unit BCL president Syed Imam Baker, launched raids in different rooms of the Shahid Mohammad Shah Hall around 9:00pm Sunday when they heard that Shibir organised an iftar programme at the mosque of a dormitory of the university.During the raid, the BCL activists detained five students — third year students Parvez Mosharraf and Abu Nayeem Mohammad Noman, second year students Md Tahir Talha, Md Ibrahim and Mahamudul Hasan Arif from the hall– and they were taken to Bangabandhu Hall.Acting on a tip-off, Bangabandhu Hall provost Kazi Delowar Hossain, assistant provost ATM Shahjahan, Shahid Mohammad Shah Hall provost Mizanur Rahman, the university’s student welfare director Md Mashiul Haque rushed to Bangabandhu Hall.CUET unit BCL president Syed Imam Baker went to the dormitory.The university administration took written statements from the five students detained by BCL activists around midnight and the students admitted that they were involved in Islami Chhatra Shibir politics.During the BCL attacks on Shibir activists, the activists of ruling AL’s student wing snatched away four laptops, five cellphones, one USB device and several books from the Shibir activists.The university authorities escorted the five Shibir activists to Shahid Mohammad Shah Hall later around 12:30am. At this stage, the entire campus of the university plunged into darkness due to power failure and the five Shibir activists escaped from the campus.BCL activists again started launching attacks on Shibir activists in various university dormitories when they heard that the five Shibir activists escaped.When contacted, Syed Imam Baker told Prothom Alo that they launched the attacks so that Shibir activists cannot create any chaos on the university campus.University’s students welfare director professor Mohammad Mashiul Haque said the five students should not have been picked up without informing the authorities. “And conducting raids in different dormitories is unwarranted too.”He said the university authorities have formed a four-strong investigation committee led by Electrical and Computer Science Faculty dean professor Koushik Deb.The probe body has been asked to submit its report within seven days.last_img read more

first_imgThe European Union (EU) has said the atmosphere for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of those who have fled their homeland must be put in place.It also asked the Myanmar government to intensify efforts to ensure full, safe and unconditional access to Rakhine State for humanitarian assistance without delay.”The authorities in Myanmar need to take forward swiftly full implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission, including citizenship for the Rohingya population,” said head of the EU delegation to the United Nations ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida.The ambassador made the call while addressing the Security Council Arria formula meeting with Kofi Annan on the Situation in Myanmar in New York on Friday. The EU envoy said those most closely involved – and the wider international community – must remain unflagging in their efforts to address this crisis and the human suffering it is inflicting.Ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen said it will be difficult to find a meaningful and lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis without involvement and monitoring by the international community especially without UN Security Council given the previous experience with Myanmar.The root cause of the problem lies with Myanmar and the solution to the crisis also lies there, he said.The Bangladesh ambassador said though the two countries agreed to form a working group to start repatriation process there are some issues that require wider discussions, according to a message received here on Saturday.The EU welcomed state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s clear commitment in her 12 October speech.”The EU stands ready to support Myanmar in this endeavour,” Almeida said urging Myanmar to cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council Independent Fact-Finding Mission and to allow full, safe and unhindered access of its members to Rakhine state without delay.The ambassador said Bangladesh has responded with a great resolve to this crisis to provide essential humanitarian assistance to those displaced by this crisis.”The EU welcomes the initial discussions and commitments between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and encourages both countries to take urgent steps forward to ensure the safe and voluntary repatriation of refugees as soon as possible, in line with the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.””It’s incumbent upon the international community to do everything it can to alleviate the plight of those who have fled and those who remain in Rakhine state,” Almeida said.The ambassador said the EU has responded quickly to the evolving humanitarian crisis. “We’ve provided 18 million euro for the delivery of assistance in Myanmar, of which 8 million euro in Rakhine, and 14.5 million euro in Bangladesh, with 10 million to address needs in Cox’s Bazar.”The EU will co-host a pledging conference in Geneva on 23 October in order to boost international support.It commended the work of the Advisory Commission and said the recommendations made by the Advisory Commission provide a clear blueprint for addressing the substantial security, development and human rights challenges faced in Rakhine state and for improving the lives of those who live there.The EU acknowledged the efforts that have been made to date by the government of Myanmar to support the work of the commission and to take forward the implementation of its recommendations, including through the establishment of a committee to oversee implementation.The EU observed that the unprecedented wave of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh has rightly galvanised international concern.”The violence and human rights violations that have driven this exodus are not acceptable and must end immediately and the protection of all civilians without discrimination, as well as the full observation of human rights law, must be assured,” said the EU envoy.The EU condemned the serious human rights violations and abuses, as well as disproportionate use of force, carried out by the security forces.It called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice in line with the rule of law. “This applies also for those involved in the attacks committed against members of the Myanmar security forces – attacks which the EU has condemned.”last_img read more