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Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Adviser Anwarul Iqbal said yesterday that the government would hold the Upazila Parishad elections before the parliamentary polls.

The adviser, talking to journalists, said that the law required to hold the upazila elections is at its final stage. The Election Commission (EC) would declare a schedule for the polls as soon as the President approves that law.

Anwarul was attending the publication ceremony of a 'Policy Paper and Guideline on the Role of Local Governments in Early Childhood Care, Development and Education' as the chief guest.

He said, “the Upazila Parishad elections would definitely be held before the general polls. Holding the polls is routine work for the EC, and the political parties have no right to question these processes,” he said.

The adviser also laid emphasis on the fact that holding local polls first would not hamper the schedule for holding the parliamentary election in December.

At the same event, Education Adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said that all political parties agree on the point of strengthening the local government.

Answering a question on whether the declaration of election schedule for four cities and nine municipalities would hamper the ongoing dialogue process, Zillur said, “Parties opposing holding of local polls first believe it would hamper the national elections but there should not be any doubts like that.”

The adviser said, “The government, political parties and the society are not rivals to one another,” and that all should take the nation forward.

Asked about the release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her sons, Zillur said the government was taking into account all legal and humanitarian grounds while working on the matter.

The adviser also said the government has sent letters to the different BNP factions for dialogue and was now awaiting their replies.

LGRD adviser Anwarul Iqbal, at the publication ceremony, said pre-schooling and early childhood care is important for proper education of children and a healthy future for them.

He said the local government representatives, specially the women representatives, could play a big role in pre-schooling. He added that community clinics could be used as early childhood care centres.

Dr Hossain Zillur said that the country is improving in many indices of education but lagging behind in the dropout rate and quality of education. Good pre-schooling can help improve in these indices, he said.

Unnayan Samannay Chairman Dr Atiur Rahman chaired the publication ceremony jointly organised by Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), Plan Bangladesh and Unnayan Shamannay (US). Khandoker Sakhawat Ali, Research Fellow of PPRC, presented the outcome of a research on pre-schooling.

Edward Thomas Espe, Country Director, Plan Bangladesh and KM Ehsanul Haque, Executive Director of PPRC also spoke on the occasion.

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