Vol. 5 Num 922 Sat. December 30, 2006  
Front Page

Ershad appeals to confront rejection
EC not accepting bank appeals to cancel defaulters' nomination

A total of 70 aspirants including Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad, whose nomination papers had been rejected by returning officers (RO), yesterday filed appeals with the Election Commission (EC), challenging the validity of the ROs' decision.

The number of appealing candidates whose nomination papers were rejected on different grounds now reached 79 in two days of the three-day process for filing appeals against the ROs' decision.

Meanwhile, the EC is not receiving bank appeals to cancel nominations of loan-defaulting candidates, whose nominations have been accepted by the ROs although it had accepted 22 such appeals ahead of the last parliamentary election.

EC sources also said Awami League (AL) leader Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday submitted an appeal to the EC for cancelling the nomination paper of BNP leader ANM Ehsanul Haque Milon on charge of dual citizenship.

Those who appealed yesterday against cancellation of their nominations include some high profile aspirants like Yusuf Abdullah Harun from Comilla-3 constituency, Nasrin Jahan Ratna (wife of JP General Secretary Ruhul Amin Howlader) from Barisal-6, SM Akram from Narayanganj-5, Laxmi Prasad Chakma from Rangamati, and Lovely Yasmin from Dinajpur-6.

As per the election laws, a candidate can appeal against rejection of his or her nomination papers within three days. The candidate can also move in the High Court if the EC rejects his or her appeal.

The EC starts disposing of the appeals from December 31.

On not accepting the appeals from different banks, EC Secretary Abdur Rashid Sarker yesterday told newsmen at his office that there is no scope for appeal to cancel nomination papers already accepted.

"There is no such law to cancel the nomination papers that have once been declared accepted by the ROs," he said.

When he was reminded that such appeals were accepted during the last election, Sarker said, "That was done from a different perspective."

He, however, said, "The ROs responsible could be brought to justice if it is proved that they had accepted nomination papers of loan defaulters despite having proper evidence in this regard."

On Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir's appeal, the EC secretary said, "His appeal will be placed before the EC."

Golam Faruque Ovi, international affairs secretary of JP-Manju, also filed an appeal with the EC yesterday, challenging the validity of the RO's decision to reject his nomination paper for Barisal-2.

The RO rejected Ovi's nomination on grounds of loan default on December 27.

Ovi had filed nomination as an independent candidate on December 26 protesting his party's decision to join the BNP-led four-party alliance.

Advocate Humayun Kabir filed the appeal on behalf of Ovi, who is now in Canada.

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

The ROs also rejected all the five nomination papers Ershad had filed for Dhaka-5, Rangpur-3, Lalmonirhat-3, Sylhet-3 and Habiganj-3 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.

"Ershad's nomination papers have been cancelled for political gain," JP Secretary General Ruhul Amin Howlader yesterday told newsmen after filing an appeal with the EC on behalf of Ershad.

"We did not get justice anywhere," he said, "We hope to get justice from the EC."

Ershad's lawyer Sirajul Islam also claimed that the ROs have rejected Ershad's nomination papers "illegally". "We will go to the higher court if we do not get justice from the EC," he said.

On behalf of Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, his lawyer Advocate Sheikh Mohammad Sirajul Islam and party Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawlader file appeal with the Election Commission (EC) at EC Secretariat in the city yesterday challenging the validity of the returning officers' (RO) decision to reject Ershad's nomination papers for five constituencies. Photo: Focus Bangla