The senior judge of a two-member High Court bench ruled in favour of BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s participation in the upcoming elections while the junior judge disagreed with him. Following the dissenting order on three writ petitions filed by Khaleda, the High Court judges will now send all the three appeals and the judges’ orders to the chief justice who will assign another High Court bench for final hearing and disposal of the petitions. Khaleda filed the writ petitions challenging the Election Commission's decisions upholding the returning officers' cancellation of her three nomination papers for Bogura-6 & 7 and Feni-1.
Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, the senior judge of the bench, directed the EC to accept the nomination papers of Khaleda and allow her to contest the December 30 general elections. The judge also issued a rule asking the EC to explain why its decision on the nomination papers of Khaleda Zia should not be declared illegal. Justice Md Iqbal Kabir, the junior judge of the bench, disagreed with the senior judges’ order.
The official campaign period turned violent early, as a local Jubo League leader was killed in a clash between the “activists of Awami League and BNP” in Noakhali Sadar upazila on the day after the electoral symbols were distributed by the Election Commission. Deceased Md Hanif, 24, was Jubo League general secretary of ward no. 9 under Aujbalia union. On the same day in Faridpur, a local Awami League leader was killed in an attack allegedly by BNP supporters at Goaldangi in Sadar upazila. The deceased was identified as Yusuf Al Mamun, 40, cultural affairs secretary of North Channel union unit of Awami League in the upazila.
Witnesses said Mamun had an altercation with BNP activists Mazid Sheikh and Aziz at a local tea stall around 8:30 pm over the upcoming election and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. At one stage, the two BNP men punched him and beat him with a stick whereby the AL leader collapsed on the ground. He was taken to Faridpur Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead. Also on the day, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s motorcade was allegedly attacked by local Awami League men in his hometown Thakurgaon.
Some 40-50 men attacked the motorcade.
A total of 1,841 candidates are going to contest the 11th parliamentary elections from all 300 constituencies. Of them, 1,745 contestants are nominated by political parties and the remaining 96 are independent contenders, according to the statistics of the Election Commission. Highest 15 candidates are running the election from Cumilla-3 parliamentary seat.
However, the number of total candidates may vary as the EC will have to accept candidature of any contestant if there is any court order. A total of 3,065 nomination papers were submitted in the 300 constituencies for the general election slated for December 30. During the scrutiny on December 2, returning officers accepted 2,279 nomination papers and rejected the rest 786. But 243 aspirants got back their candidature following appeals with the appellate authority, EC, challenging the decisions of the returning officers. Some others candidates got back their candidacy with the court's orders. Nearly 700 candidates pulled out from the electoral race within the deadline that expired on Sunday.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) shut off access to 58 web portals, reopened them, and then finally again shut off 54 of the original list of 58, in a highly confusing set of steps all in the space of just 24 hours. Emdadul Haque, secretary general of Internet Service Providers’ Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told our sister newsagency UNB that BTRC asked them to block 54 websites again keeping poriborton.com, priyo.com, risingbd.com and dhakatimes24.com from the earlier list open.
On Sunday, BTRC ordered the International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators to block the access to 58 news portals as per the recommendations of the government and law enforcement agencies.