Five days after reports appeared on the nomination of a former senior bureaucrat on an Awami League ticket from Netrakona-4 constituency even though he is liable to be disqualified for contesting the forthcoming elections while still serving post-retirement ‘cooling off’ period, the Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC) refuses take action against him.
While the BEC has evidently taken a partisan stand on Sajjadul Hassan, a former senior secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Chairman of Biman Bangladesh’s Board of Directors, a Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) nominee today filed an appeal with the poll panel seeking the immediate disqualification of the Awami League candidate for Netrakona-4 constituency.
In gross violation of a recent Dhaka High Court order and other established rules and regulations, the BEC continues to drag its feet on taking a decision on the Hassan’s questionable nomination.
Northeast News had on December 4 brought to light the Awami League leadership’s decision to nominate Hassan, a former senior secretary in the PMO and an ex-chairman of Biman Bangladesh’s Board of Directors, for the Netrakona-4 seat even though he did not fulfill the mandatory three-year “cooling off” period after his retirement from government service.
The same day, the Dhaka High Court passed a judgment that no government employee could run for election if she or he does not complete the mandatory three-year cooling-off period.
While the court judgment renders Hassan’s nomination disqualified, the BEC, instead of moving swiftly to debar him from contesting the polls, is yet to take a decision on his nomination papers even as the last date (December 17) for withdrawal of nomination nears.
The JSD candidate Mohammad Mushfiqur Rahman’s appeal, filed on December 9 with the BEC, points out that Hassan’s Awami League candidature was “accepted by the Returning Officer” on December 3 “even though he does not qualify to be a candidate”.
This, according to Rahman’s appeal, a copy of which is in the possession of Northeast News, “clearly violates electoral laws as also of a recent High Court judgment”.
Seeking cancellation of Hassan’s nomination, Rahman’s pointed out that his appeal was “not taken into cognizance and was rejected” by the BEC without “assigning any reason or logic”.
Repeated phone calls to BEC Secretary Mohammad Jahangir, to seek his response on Rahman’s appeal and the poll panel’s blatant disregard for electoral laws and the court judgment, did not elicit any response.