Move to remove GCC mayor No law to punishing on political offense

23 November 2021
Move to remove GCC mayor No law to punishing on political offense


Noman Mosharef :
Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD) ministry is going to initiate measures for removal of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) Mayor Zahangir Alam from his post since he has been expelled from the party by the Awami League (AL) that had given him the ticket to run the election.
However, the local government laws have no provision to deal with disobedience of the party or its instruction.
The members of parliament usually lose seats for voting against or working against their political party and this is specially mentioned in the Constitution.
LGRD Senior Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said it's a new experience for them. "The law does not say whether the winning candidate with the party symbol will be able to remain in the post of mayor if his party membership is canceled", he said. Local governance expert
Dr Tofail Ahmed thinks a mayor can step down even with moral responsibility, if he thinks a no-confidence motion could be filed against him. The provision is that if two-thirds of the elected members express distrust towards any mayor, upazila chairman or union parishad chairman, he or she will lose his post.
He said even if allegations of moral turpitude, state and law are proved against an elected representative, he has to lose his post.
There are various opinions and as well confusion among Awami League leaders  over the way to remove Mayor Zahangir Alam.
 On October 19 at a meeting in Ganabhaban of Awami League's Central Working Committee, chaired by the party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,  Gazipur city unit general secretary and city mayor Zahangir Alam was expelled for life over allegations of making derogatory comments on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and criticized over the number of martyred freedom fighters. Zahangir has also lost his initial membership in the party.
It was learnt that Zahangir Alam reportedly made derogatory remarks on Bangabandhu and martyred freedom fighters at an in-house programme. A video footage of his comments went viral on social media on 21 September.
The video shows the mayor was expressing doubts about the number of martyrs in the Liberation War. He also raised questions about Bangabandhu's intention to make the country independent.
Zahangir Alam, however, claimed that the video was doctored and super-edited.
The four-minute video footage also shows Mayor Zahangir was making offensive remarks about the Gazipur Metropolitan Awami League President Azmat Ullah Khan, State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, late Hefazat leader Junaid Babungari and two state agencies.
On 3 October, a day after the matter was widely discussed at the party's Dhanmondi office, the Awami League served a show-cause notice on Zahangir Alam, asking him to explain by 16 October why he would not be expelled for the "breach of organisational discipline and working against party interests" after a video of his remarks on Bangabandhu and Liberation War martyrs spread on social media in late September.
The Gazipur city mayor submitted his explanation to the party and sought for unconditional apology but that could not save him.
As per Article 57 of Awami League's constitution, if any party member takes part in activities contrary to aims, objectives, rules and interests of the party, the central executive committee can take any action against him/her on the charge of breaching organisational discipline.

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