5th Phase of Upazila polls: On 28 March 2014, SHUJAN-Citizens for Good Governance reported in a written statement during a press conference at the capital’s Mukti Bhaban, “The law enforcement agencies and army could not play effective role in preventing violence during the recent upazila parishad elections…Before the fourth phase, the Election Commission had asked the army to take prompt action to check violence, but allegations of inaction were present as in the previous phases.” SHUJAN observed the incidents of violence and vote rigging are increasing during the phases and the commission has lost its control on the polls.
“The commission has failed to execute its duty to hold free, fair and peaceful elections. It has completely failed to check vote rigging, irregularities and violence,” affirmed the statement read by a SHUJAN official in the presence of its Secretary, Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar.
The report accused political parties of violating the electoral code of conduct by meddling in the non-partisan Upazila elections. SHUJAN called for keeping the next phase free from controversy and violence. At the conference, SHUJAN disclosed information on 354 out of 360 chairman candidates in 74 Upazilas under the fifth phase scheduled.
Of the candidates listed, 161 passed the SSC exams and 77 failed. A total of 112 are accused in different cases including 21 facing murder charges. Five candidates annually earn over BDT 1 crore (≈120,000 USD), while 58 own properties worth over BDT 1 crore and eleven own properties valued over BDT 5 crore (≈609,000 USD).