Speakers at a round table urged the government to make Upazila Parishads functional by arguing that holding elections only for the local government units is not enough. “Local government bodies in Bangladesh did not get real autonomy even 43 years after the country’s independence, while the MP’s have made the things even worse through their meddling in Upazila Parishads,” added the speakers. SHUJAN–Citizens for Good Governance, arranged the round table discussion, entitled “The 4th Upazila Elections and Local Government Reform Issue” in Mukti Bhaban Paltan, Dhaka.
SHUJAN secretary, Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, its executive member Ali Imam Majumder, politicians Ruhin Hossain Prince and Humayun Kabir Hiru, and former chairman of Nalitabari Upazila, Badiuzzaman Badsha, among others, spoke at the program.
Professor Tofail Ahmed, a local government expert, presented the keynote address while Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque moderated the function.
Addressing the round table, Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar declared that the arrangement of the Upazila elections is essential, but the polls will not bring solutions to the existing problems over the effectiveness of the Upazila Parishads. “The arrangement of elections is not enough,” he said, adding that the Upazila Parishad should be made functional. Dr. Alam also argued that the mandatory provision for the elected Upazila Parishad representatives to take advice from the local MP’s is unexpected to succeed.