Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DCC polls under new EC: Ashraf

Elections to the newly bifurcated Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) will be held after the formation of a new Election Commission, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said on Tuesday.

Mentioning that the current EC has declined to hold the polls due to time constraint, he said the new EC will hold the elections to Dhaka North and Dhaka South city corporations, reports Prothom Alo.

Ashraf, also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League, made the comments after a ceremony organised to distribute trucks among municipality mayors at Agargaon in the city. 

About DCC split, he said, “Dhaka city is not being divided by barbed wire. Passports or visas will not be necessary to travel from one part of the city to another.” 

“Local governments in different countries are being decentralised. London’s local government system has been divided into six, while that of New York in five. Recently (New) Delhi has been decentralised. In the future, Dhaka will require more administrative rearrangement,” the minister said. 

Earlier on Monday, the EC decided not to hold the split-DCC polls by February next year due to time constraint.

According to the recent changes brought to the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009, polls to two city corporations -- DCC North and DCC South -- must be held within 90 days, a deadline that ends on February 29.

But the present EC is not getting the stipulated 90 days because the tenure of Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda and Election Commissioner Sohul Hussein expires on February 4. Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, the other election commissioner, will retire on February 14.

On December 4, the LGD in a letter requested the Election Commission to make necessary preparations for holding polls to the bifurcated DCC within the 90-day deadline.

Amid widespread criticism and protests, parliament on November 29 passed the bill splitting the DCC into two and introduced the provision for holding the city polls within 90 days. The House took four minutes and a few seconds to pass the bill.

President Zillur Rahman signed the bill into a law on December 1.

Protesting the split, BNP enforced a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the capital on December 4. The main opposition party also said it would re-unify the DCC when voted to power.

After the changes took effect, city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, also a BNP leader, and all of its councillors automatically lost their posts.

In line with the changes, the government appointed two administrators on December 4 to run the two city corporations until mayors and councillors are elected.