3 years ago

'Lawmakers can do everything but campaigning in city polls'

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Senior Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed has said lawmakers can extend all kinds of support to their party-backed candidates other than asking for votes during their campaigns for the Dhaka city corporations' election,

The lawmaker made the remarks after a meeting with the Election Commission on Saturday, reports bdnews24.com.

A delegation of the ruling party led by Tofail held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and other election officials to discuss its grievances over the campaigning restrictions facing members of parliament (MPs) in the polls to the Dhaka North and South city corporations.

Tofail told reporters that a number of inconsistencies in the electoral rules were highlighted during the talks, which also were acknowledged by all the election commissioners, except Mahbub Talukder.

"We as MPs won't attend street rallies or do door-to-door campaigning. But as coordinators, we will be able to hold informal meetings," he said.

"We've accepted that we won't be able to attend any election-related campaign. They've requested lawmakers not to ask for votes for the election candidates. We'll do everything else.”

The electoral code of conduct bars lawmakers, who benefit from state privileges and hold VIP status, from partaking in campaigns for local elections. However, leaders of the Awami League have been critical of the rule as it has allowed important BNP leaders to campaign for their party's candidates.

"We have raised this issue. Members of parliament are not beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are those who hold offices of profit such as the prime minister, ministers, whips and speakers but not MPs,” said Tofail.

"Regarding the issue of very important persons on our side, Sheikh Salim, Hanif and all are VIPs. At the same, [BNP leaders] Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy have all served as ministers and state ministers. They too are VIPs."

According to the veteran parliamentarian, the EC "admitted that there is a contradiction in the definition".

"Mahbub Talukder reiterated what he said the other day that we can't talk about the elections at home or in our office. But the other election commissioners agree that this is not practical.”

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