Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Dhaka city polls shifted to Feb 1

Published 11:41 pm | January 18, 2020

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The election date of Dhaka south and north city corporations has been shifted to February 1 in the wake of protest demanding the deferral of the polls date as it coincided with Saraswati Puja. “We are shifting the polls date to February 1,” Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda briefed journalists this evening after holding an urgent meeting of the commission at the Nirbachan Bhaban at Agargaon here.

Earlier on December 22, the Election Commission (EC) fixed January 30 as the polls date. Meantime, the government shifted the beginning of the Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations to February 3 from February 1.

“The SSC and its equivalent examinations of the all education boards will now begin from February 3. . . the examinations have been shifted due to an unavoidable circumstances,” Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury told BSS this evening.

After the EC’s decision to shift the polls, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Akhteruzzaman went to Raju Memorial Sculpture, where students were observing fast unto death, and broke the fasting of the protesting students with juice.

The protesting students also called off their movement after the EC’s announcement, Utpal Biswas, Vice-President (VP) of DU’s Jagannath Hall students’ union and spokesperson of the movement, told reporters.

Utpal thanked the EC and concerned authorities to meet their demand.

Later, the protesting students brought out a jubilant procession on the campus.

In immediate reactions, the mayoral candidates extended thanks to the EC to shift the polls date.

Earlier, following the announcement of the polls date, different organizations of Hindu community demanded to change the polls date as it coincided with Saraswati Puja, a major religious festival of the Hindu community, which is arranged at almost all educational institutions. Usually, polling centers are set up at different educational institutions.

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU), DU Jagannath Hall authorities and different organizations of Hindu community demanded changing of polls date.

The students of Dhaka University, where the country’s biggest celebration of Saraswati Puja is arranged, took to streets, held rallies and brought out protest procession demanding changing of the polls date.

Meantime, the High Court rejected a writ petition seeking a directive to defer the city elections.

After the High Court’s rejection of the writ petition, students of Dhaka University took to streets and waged movement demanding the polls deferral.

On January 16, DU students started holding a fast unto death over the matter at the Raju Memorial Sculpture on the university campus.
Dhaka University teachers also expressed solidarity with the demand.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader earlier today at a press conference said the AL or the government would have no objection if the election date is rescheduled.

Mayoral candidates including AL aspirants Atiqul Islam and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and BNP contestants Tabith Awal and Ishraq Hossain also said they would have no problem if the polls date is changed.
(BSS)

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