Wednesday, July 9, 2008

'Voters denied right to know candidates'

Shujan discussion told in Rajshahi

Staff Correspondent, Rajshahi

Speakers at a views exchange meeting in Rajshahi city yesterday said the Election Commission (EC) is depriving people of their right to information by not providing detailed information on mayoral and councillor candidates in local government elections.

They observed that not providing information about candidates is violation of a court order and it would help dishonest and corrupt candidates win again.
The speakers said this is allowing criminals, corrupt and disputed politicians to have the chance to be elected again despite government efforts for electoral reforms to have honest and competent candidates.
Former adviser to a caretaker government ASM Shahjahan was the chief guest while President of Shushashoner Janney Nagarik (Shujan) Rajshahi district unit Nurul Alam presided over the meeting.Shujan organised the meeting titled "Responsibilities of concerned citizens to elect honest and efficient persons" at Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries auditorium. Channel i, Prothom Alo and The Daily Star were the media partners to the programme.
Shujan General Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder, Prothom Alo Assistant Editor Arun Bosu and Shujan Rajshahi city unit President Shamsuddin spoke among others.
Among the Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) mayoral and councillor candidates, Awami League Rajshahi city unit President Masudul Haque Dulu, its General Secretary AHM Khairuzzaman, Workers' Party politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha, BNP's Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, Progressive Democratic Party's Raihanur Rahman and independent candidate Abdul Khaleque spoke on the occasion.
Badiul Alam Majumder, Prothom Alo Assistant Editor Arun Bosu and Shujan Rajshahi city unit President Shamsuddin spoke among others.
Among the Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) mayoral and councillor candidates, Awami League Rajshahi city unit President Masudul Haque Dulu, its General Secretary AHM Khairuzzaman, Workers' Party politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha, BNP's Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, Progressive Democratic Party's Raihanur Rahman and independent candidate Abdul Khaleque spoke on the occasion.
ASM Shahjahan said the EC is not allowing people to know details of mayoral and councillor candidates, which violates a court verdict.
"We are seeking information about candidates, but the EC is refusing to provide it before July 14… what is their [the EC's] interest? Do they want to save somebody by hiding information? The EC's refusal is a clear violation of the right to information," said Badiul Alam Majumder.
Liakat Ali, editor of a local Bangla daily Sonali Sangbad, said people are being cheated as the EC is failing to protect the elections from criminals and corrupt people even after formulating stringent laws for electoral reforms.
"About 50 people collected nomination forms for the RCC mayor post but only 18 of them submitted theirs. Old political faces showed up even though participation of political-party affiliated people in the polls is not allowed," he said.
The speakers said electing honest and competent people would be very difficult as politically-affiliated candidates will use their influence in the election and afterwards.
Arun Bosu called upon people to unite and elect an honest and competent candidate.
"Sona Dighi was turned into a sewage line; drugs are destroying the city's youths… the people themselves are to choose a leader who can relieve them of these problems," he said.
The speakers said silence and inactivity of good people is more dangerous than corruption and crime. Citizens should unite against corrupt people and criminals and protect the country from them.

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