JaPa candidates withdraw nominations: Storm of controversy over poll validity brews

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Special Correspondent :
Peer party of ruling quarters, bureaucrats joined by mass people guess the 12th national election is destined to be neither free nor fair, keeping major opposition political players in jail.

Sensing the danger a lopsided election on an unlevel playing field, while the government nominated opposition Jatiya Party’s (JaPa) three candidates have already withdrawn from the race- 12th parliamentary election, which is boycotted by BNP and allies.

Some JaPa leaders including its chairman GM Quader, Trinomul BNP leader Taimur Alam Khondoker and some other opposition party leaders those who are participating in January 7 national polls have expressed their doubt over the Election Commission’s role for holding the upcoming polls free and fair.

Even, some grassroots level voters expressed their concern fearing possible violence centering the forthcoming polls.

Considering the overall situation will the national polls get acceptance by the international community as well as people of the country?, they asked.

Preferring anonymity some additional secretaries of the government told this correspondent that the government’s decision is not correct to hold the national election keeping the top leaders of the main opposition in jail.

However, the parliamentary election is now shrouded in uncertainty as the major opposition political party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has boycotted the electoral process demanding restoration of caretaker government.

Even the position of JaPa Chief GM Quader to proceed with the election is conveying a message of disassociation from the electoral process as said by his party insiders.

Apart from it, a number of voters while talking to this correspondent responded that they would not go to the polling stations due to the lack of security and the one-sided election without the major political opposition BNP.

The voters said that they already knew the outcome of the election because the party nominated candidates, or dummy candidates or independent candidates are all from the same platform. So the voters have no option to choose their candidates, the voters said.

The government’s handling of the electoral system this time has created this situation, said the critics, questioning the fairness and transparency of the electoral process in the absence of key opposition players.

The decision by the BNP to boycott the election has left many bureaucrats and political observers concerned about the future of the country heading for.

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The situation further escalated as JaPa candidates, initially set to contest the election, began to withdraw their nominations from the constituencies-Barishal-2 (Banaripara-Uzirpur) and Barishal-5 (Sadar)candidate Engineer Iqbal Hossain Taposh and Barguna-1 (Amtali-Taltali) candidate Khalilur Rahman.

This unexpected development has fueled speculation and raised doubts about the credibility of the election, political party leaders and other stakeholders said.

Political analysts are expressing concern that the absence of a major opposition party and the withdrawal of Jatiya Party candidates could undermine the integrity of the electoral outcome.

“Though the Election Commission says they are determined to hold the upcoming election in a free and fair manner, their role seems to be controlled by the government.

The government wants to pass the electoral process with the help of some political parties only.

All things considered, it seems to me that January 7 poll is going to be a farce election and the common people have no relation with it.

There is a certain party in the election and some people from the base of that party are participating in this election.

So, I have decided to withdrawmy candidature from the January 7 election,” after withdrawing the candidature from the upcoming national polls, Engineer Iqbal Hossain Taposh told reporters during a press conference on Sunday in Barishal.

The Election Commission and the concerned administration are not playing their neutral role as they have failed in this regard, Pabna-1 Constituency independent candidate Professor Abu Sayeed said on Sunday during a press conference.

“So far, 12 specific written complaints have been given to all departments including the Election Commission, but they have not taken any action in this regard. So, how the election will be held in free and fair manner,” he added.

Mizanur Rahman, a farmer of Delduar upazila in Tangail district said that he will not go to polling centre to cast his vote as there is no opposition candidate in this national poll.