Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  
Front Page

Nomination Rejection
EC starts hearing today on 124 appeals

The Election Commission (EC) today starts hearing of 124 appeals filed by aspirants challenging the validity of the returning officers' (RO) decision rejecting their nomination papers.

On the first day, the EC may hear the appeals of Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad to decide whether he can contest the January 22 parliamentary elections.

"The Election Commission asked me to attend the hearing tomorrow," Ershad's lawyer Sirajul Islam, who went to the EC Secretariat to enquire about the timetable of hearing, told reporters yesterday.

The ROs rejected all the five nomination papers Ershad had filed for Dhaka-5, Rangpur-3, Lalmonirhat-3, Sylhet-3 and Habiganj-3 constituencies on grounds of the Supreme Court's rejection of his appeal against a High Court (HC) verdict. The HC had sentenced Ershad to two years in prison in a graft case.

EC Secretary Abdur Rashid Sarkar yesterday met President and Chief Adviser Iajuddin Ahmed. Talking to The Daily Star after the meeting with the president and three other advisers, the EC secretary however said the meeting discussed the law and order as the Awami League-led alliance announced blockade on January 7 and 8.

The council of advisers already sent a message to the EC saying that they want an amicable solution of Ershad's case as the Jatiya Party has already announced that it would boycott the polls if Ershad could not contest it, sources said.

The EC will complete the hearing within three days and announce its decision whether it will accept the appeals or not. If one's appeal is accepted, his or her nomination paper will be declared valid.

The ROs on December 27 rejected 264 nomination papers on grounds of loan default and other disqualifying factors.

Interestingly, over half of the aspirants, whose nomination papers had been rejected by the ROs on different grounds, did not file appeal in last three days while the time limit for filing appeal expired yesterday.

Major (retd) Akhtaruzzaman (Kishoreganj-2), Benzir Ahmed (Manikganj-1) and Golam Faruk Ovi (Barisal-2) filed appeals yesterday.