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Ershad campaigns at new year’s programme, says no rule flouted

56Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad has campaigned for his party-endorsed Dhaka mayor candidates at a programme celebrating the Bengali new year.

 

The party’s Dhaka North unit general secretary and mayor candidate Bahauddin Ahmed Bablu said they organised Tuesday’s Pahela Baishakh programmes keeping the city polls in mind.

Saifuddin Milon is the other party-endorsed candidate for Dhaka South.

Ershad said: “It’s our maiden city election. The city will see development if we are voted to power. It’s an election of the party, not persons.”

He introduced the candidates at the gathering.

“Do you know who our candidates are? Babul in the North and Milon in the South. Promise that you’ll make them victorious,” the former president said.

Ershad is the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy with the status of a minister.

However, electoral code for the city polls, which are considered largely non-partisan, does not allow campaigning at community centres or canvassing by ministers, state ministers or people of equal ranks.

But the party’s election committee chief Sunil Subho Roy told bdnews24.com that they had not violated the poll code.

“The Jatiya Party organises programmes marking the Pahela Baishakh every year. The party chairman said a word or two to the party activists… that’s all,” he said.

Dhaka South Returning Officer Mihir Sarwar Morshed said renting community centres and campaigning there was a violation of the code.

“But the Election Commission cannot do anything directly here,” he told bdnews24.com about the Jatiya Party programme.

He pointed out that the candidates did not rent the community centre.

“They campaigned under the guise of a new year programme. We also have to consider whether he (Ershad) spoke there as the prime minister’s special envoy or the party chairman,” Morshed added.

On Monday, Awami League-endorsed Dhaka North mayor candidate took part in a “road rally” at a community centre in Mohammadpur where slogans were raised in party chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s name.

The party-backed Dhaka South candidate, Sayeed Khokon, took part in a programme where a banner, with the prime minister’s picture in it, was put up.