2nd phase of Upazila polls: “The political parties are violating the electoral code of conduct by meddling in selecting candidates and forcing many aspirants to withdraw candidacy in the non-partisan Upazila Parishad elections,” claimed SHUJAN-Citizens for Good Governance on 25 February 2014.
“This is tantamount to influencing the elections, but the Election Commission remains silent,” leaders of SHUJAN revealed in a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity. Election Commissioner, Shah Nawaz, reported they had not received any complain of such violations, and vowed, “If we get a specific and formal allegation, we will look into it.”
SHUJAN Secretary, Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, read out a written statement citing the violations. “They are pressuring many candidates to quit the race to leave a single contestant, while this practice has been intensified in the second phase of the elections beginning tomorrow,” he declared. “In addition, there are allegations that supporters of the rivals of the pro-ruling candidates are being harassed by police and getting threats in different Upazilas,” said the statement.
SHUJAN also presented a report featuring different information of the second phase elections. According to the report, 515 aspirants are contesting for the chairman post across 117 Upazilas. As in the 1st phase elections, more than half of the chairman candidates are businessmen. At least 124 chairman aspirants are accused of different charges, including 16 who are accused of murder.
Around half of the chairman candidates graduated while 15.16% failed SSC exams. The annual income of 373 candidates is less than 5 lakh BDT (≈6,085 USD) while six earn over 1 crore BDT (≈122,000 USD) each year. A total of 203 candidates pay income taxes.