Recently the Election Commission (EC) announced that the local government polls in four city corporations and nine municipalities will be held on August 4 this year. The caretaker government will relax the Emergency Powers Rules (EPR) in respective areas to allow campaign processions and rallies.
In the mean-time one of nation’s major political parties BNP has already rejected the schedule for local-body elections and its arch rival Awami League (AL) also termed it a ‘conspiratorial and farcical move’. Jatiya Party (Ershad), one of the other small parties welcomed the decision to hold city corporation and municipality polls before parliamentary elections and urged the government to declare the schedule for Upazila elections too. It looks like the scheduled local government election will remain controversial to some political parties and individuals.
The care taker government’s Chief Adviser (CA) and EC both are very determined to finish local government polls prior to the declared general election in December. The nation’s political parties are still wondering what the government really want and what is in their mind. The reality is that these leaders should not take the nation towards chaos cooking up some less important issues and derail the government from the path of general election. No doubt that all the parties and the people of the nation do not want to go back to the pre 1/11 situation. Everybody should be strongly committed to restoration of the democracy in the country. And it does not mean that the care taker government and EC should simply hold a farcical election. The CA and EC both vowed to execute the elections as fair, neutral, and accepted to all. The political leaders often demand that the general election should be held immediately and thus try to force the government to handover the power to the elected persons. Of course, they must have meant that the ‘election’ should be held as per due process. As due process involves a lot of parameters the question is what kind of election the political parties and general citizens really desire?
We have seen that the EC along with CA has been working towards the polls according to a plan. It is of everybody’s concern that after 1/11 the nation’s political parties and individuals have not reached a common platform to make a mutually respectable decision for the sake of the nation’s future socioeconomic and political issues. The government’s use of emergency rules against the party leaders has muddied the process. The government is getting little cooperation and nothing more than negative response from the political parties and individuals which are also not desired. Ultimately these impediments will slow down the process of the government’s electoral activities. If the government is still determined to give their power to the elected persons sooner or later, this can be considered an optimistic sign.
It seems that the EC will face a tough challenge to hold the local government polls but will march ahead with its plan. The positive side of it is that it would be an experiment for the EC as well as the government if they want to hold fair, neutral and accepted polls without any muscle power and black money. The experience of this poll can be used in the general election just months away from it. Now the nation can only wait and see how the government approaches the local government election and how the political parties respond to it. It will give us an outlook how the parliament election will be executed by the government.