The Financial Express

EC to introduce ‘pollution-free’ election campaign

Published: February 22, 2020 13:37:07 | Updated: February 22, 2020 19:49:35

Picture used for representational purpose only Picture used for representational purpose only

The Election Commission plans to meet the candidates of the upcoming Dhaka 10 by-poll to reach an agreement in reducing pollution in campaigns.

The EC scheduled a meeting for Sunday with the candidates from the ruling Awami League and the BNP.

The use of laminated posters and noise pollution in the recent Dhaka city election led the EC to opt for this ‘alternative’ initiative. It planned to reach an agreement with the candidates to curb pollution while complying with the code of conduct, bdnews24.com reported.

Awami League aspirant Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin applauded the EC initiative, while BNP candidate Sheikh Rabiul Alam asked if equal opportunity would be ensured for all.

In the above circumstances, the EC can ensure a pollution free by-election if everyone agrees, said deputy secretary GM Sahtabuddin.

“There’s a code of conduct for election campaigns allowing the candidates to run it in many ways. But laminated posters and noise pollution are causing trouble to people. The commission is trying to reach a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the candidates to reduce the plight of the common people,” he said.

The six candidates were given five proposals to curb pollution while they submitted their nomination papers, said regional election officer GM Sahtab.

The EC will meet the candidates at 11 am on Sunday.

The constituency of Dhaka 10 is comprised of Ward Nos. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 22 in the southern zone of the bifurcated city corporation. The seat became vacant as the newly elected DSCC Mayor Fazle Nur Taposh resigned from the post to contest the mayoral election.

The by-poll is slated for March 21.

Five proposals by EC

  1. Microphones or any sound device should be used within the approved limits; posters, banners, digital displays can be set up in approved election camps
  2. Posters can be hung on 21 places fixed by the EC
  3. Processions and marches should be limited as far as possible; it will be scheduled for all candidates
  4. The EC will determine the places for holding public meetings. The candidates can hold meetings in turn with the EC approval
  5. Candidates should refrain from setting up arches, camps on pavements or holding meetings on streets

The Election Commission sought cooperation from the contestants in signing a MoU on the issue, said the returning officer.

Candidates’ reactions

Candidates from two major political parties -- the Awami League and BNP -- applauded the EC initiative.

“We appreciate the five proposals. We don’t want to create any public nuisance. We’ll abide by the proposals given by EC, but we need cooperation from everyone,” said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, the ruling party candidate.

BNP aspirant Sheikh Rabiul Alam said the EC should ensure equal opportunity in election campaigns for everyone.

“The electoral system has collapsed in the present circumstances. We too have some proposals. We’re not sure how this five-point proposal will be implemented. In reality, the ruling party candidate will enjoy the opportunities solely, as they’re having now. We believe there should be practical and effective proposals. We’ll share our opinion in the meeting following a discussion in our forum.”

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