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Govt urges EC to hold Dhaka polls

unnamedClose on the heels of issuing a gazette notification of delimitation of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), the LGRD Ministry has sent a letter to the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat requesting it to take necessary steps for holding elections to the divided Dhaka city corporations.

In the letter, sent on Monday, the ministry said that they have issued a gazette notification on delimitation of the wards 55, 56 and 57 of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), and that now there is no barrier now to holding of polls to the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).

Election Commission Secretary Md Sirajul Islam, confirming that they have received a letter from the LGRD Ministry in this regard, said the Commission will hold a meeting to take necessary decision on the issue.
After sending the letter, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam reported it to the Cabinet at its weekly meeting, held at the Secretariat, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the Chair yesterday.

On being informed, the premier expressed her satisfaction over the matter and advised her Cabinet colleagues to cooperate to hold the two DCC polls smoothly.

Talking to The Independent, LGRD Senior Secretary Monzur Hossain said they have requested the Election Commission to hold elections to the twin DCCs.
Talking to this correspondent, Election Commissioner Mohammad Shah Newaz said that the Election Commission will sit on the matter soon to decide about the polls.

“Factors like academic examinations, congenial political atmosphere and the upcoming holy Ramzan will be considered before taking a final decision on the city polls,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, at the Cabinet meeting on Monday, informed her Cabinet colleagues that candidates for the DSCC and Chittagong City Corporations would be announced on time.

“The candidates for the Councillors posts would be given in coordination with the grassroot leaders at ward levels,” a senior minister quoted the PM as saying.
On February 16, during the Cabinet meeting, PM Hasina had announced the name of former FBCCI president Annisul Huq as the candidate for the DNCC.
In December last year, Sheikh Hasina had directed the LGRD Minister to hold elections to both city corporations. The premier had observed that it was not an issue as to who would emerge successful in the polls. “It is necessary to hold the elections soon,” she had said.
The erstwhile Dhaka City Corporation was split into DNCC and DSCC on November 30, 2011 through the passage of a bill that amended the 2009 Local Government Act. The government also appointed two administrators to run the two city corporations.

Last city Mayor, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, was elected in 2002 and he continued until 2011, although his term had expired in 2007.
Although elections to both the city corporations were scheduled for May 24, 2012, a High Court stay order following a writ petition had halted the polls.

On May 13 the following year, the High Court dismissed the writ that had challenged the legality of the city elections, but neither the local government ministry nor the Election Commission had taken any visible initiatives to hold the elections ever since.