Vol. 5 Num 882 Mon. November 20, 2006  
Front Page

Free, Fair Polls
Nagorik body places proposals to CA

A five-member delegation of Nagorik Committee 2006 yesterday called on President and Chief Adviser to the caretaker government Iajuddin Ahmed at Bangabhaban and placed a set of recommendations for holding the next election in a free, fair and neutral manner.

They urged the president to reconstitute the Election Commission, bring necessary amendments to the existing Representatives of People Order, take steps for revision of the voter lists excluding false voters and reshuffle the administration at the field level for creating a congenial atmosphere for a free and fair election.

Urging the president to bring necessary amendments to the Representatives of People Order (RPO) 1972, the delegation said it could be done through promulgating an ordinance.

The committee also pointed out the 'required' amendments to the order and presented a draft prepared through dialogues, and discussions with senior lawyers and legal experts.

The delegation also presented some documents to the president and recommendations for immediate and midterm actions for bringing political reforms and meeting people's expectations.

The delegation included Joint Convener of the committee and former finance minister M Syeduzzaman, former cabinet secretary M Mujibul Huq, former adviser of caretaker government Syed Manzur Elahi, Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed and the committee's Member Secretary Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya.

The president gave the delegation members a patent hearing and assured them of implementing the recommendations, they told the newsmen after coming out from the Bangabhaban.

The president also sought cooperation from the civil society members for overcoming the existing political crisis, they said.

"We have urged the president to solve the crisis through discussions as the whole nation is waiting with anxiety for a solution," M Syeduzzaman told the journalists waiting at the Bangabhaban gate.

"We have also requested the president to create such an atmosphere during the election so that the competent, honest and dedicated people can participate in the election," he said, adding, "The president assured us that he would actively consider our recommendations."

"We requested the president to do whatever he thinks good for the country without any bias to any political parties," said Syed Manzur Elahi.

Now the president has enormous power and he can utilise the power for welfare of the country, he said.

The whole nation is eagerly waiting to see what the president does to find a way out from the existing political deadlock, said M Mujibul Huq.

Describing the gravity of political deadlock Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed said, "I have never seen such a dangerous situation through which the nation is passing now."

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said the president was also urged to take steps for curbing corruption and the influence of black money and musclemen during the next general election.

The committee members hoped that the president would perform his duties as the president and chief adviser of the caretaker government separately and with transparency.

The delegation apprised the president of the background of the Nagorik Committee and informed him that the recommendations were prepared through 15 national dialogues in different places of the country in last few months.

The delegation told the president that the immediate and meaningful reforms and reconstitution of the Election Commission are demands of time as the nation is passing through a critical situation.

The Nagorik Committee thinks that the initiative taken by the advisers with consultations of the chief adviser can play a vital role in resolving the political impasse.

The nation is eagerly waiting for the president's statement in this regard, the committee observed.

They suggested holding meeting of the advisers with district level officials for creating awareness for keeping the administration out of the political influence.

The committee suggested incorporations of some new provisions in the RPO including compulsory registration of political parties, imposing bar on government officials in participating in the national election within three years of his or her retirement, informing the people about the candidates' income, expenditure, property, tax and liabilities within 72 hours of their financial statements submitted to the returning officers.

The Election Commission should appoint the officials of the National Board of Revenue, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General for examining the financial statements submitted by the candidates, they said.

The Election Commission should also form election disqualification commission for cancelling the candidature if any allegation of corruption or illegal activity is made against any candidate, they suggested.

The election dispute cases must be resolved within six months of filing the case, they said.

The committee thinks that their recommendations should be implemented for curbing the influence of black money and musclemen and ensuring participation of the competent, honest and dedicated persons in the election.

Former finance minister M Syeduzzaman speaks at a press briefing after a delegation of the Nagorik Committee 2006 met President and Chief Adviser Iajuddin Ahmed at Bangabhaban yesterday. Syed Manzur Elahi, Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, M Mujibul Huq and Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya are also seen in the picture. PHOTO: STAR