Monday, July 22, 2019

EC dismisses appeals from four convicted BNP leaders

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-12-06 23:27:06 BdST

Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin and Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu.

Four BNP leaders whose candidacies were cancelled due to conviction in criminal cases have failed to get the returning officers’ decisions overturned after appealing to the Election Commission.

They are former state ministers Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin and Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, and Jashore’s Sabira Sultana.

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and the other commissioners dismissed their appeals on the first day of hearing on Thursday.

The EC heard 160 out of the 543 appeals against rejection and cleared 80 nominations allowing the candidates to run for parliament in the Dec 30 election.

Tuku, Nasir, Dulu, and Sabira are among 76 whose appeals were dismissed.

Tuku wanted to contest for Sirajganj-2, Nasir for Chattogram-5, Dulu for Natore-2 and Sabira for Jashore-2.

The returning officers rejected their nominations as the constitution bars anyone sentenced to more than two years in prison from elections and all four have more than two years of prison terms to serve.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s nominations for three seats were also rejected for the same reason.

The EC will hear her appeal on Saturday.   

As over 35 BNP candidates were cleared on Thursday, the party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir expressed hope that Khaleda will also be allowed to run for parliament again.

But the rejection of the four convicted BNP leaders’ appeals is likely to frustrate him and others expecting their chief in the polls.

Dulu argued that the court stayed his conviction a year ago and the state is yet to appeal against the order, so he is eligible to contest in the election.

He referred to the recent High Court that bars people sentenced to more than two years in jail from contesting in elections even if appeals on their cases remain pending.

The government is intentionally preventing him from the election because it does not want fair polls, the BNP leader alleged. He said he would move the court against the EC decision.

Nasir described the EC hearing as ‘a farce’.

The BNP’s back-up candidate for Bogura-7, Morshed Milton, and its only candidate for Dhaka-1, Khandaker Abu Ashfaque, have won the appeals.

The BNP also has Faridul Kabir Talukder and Abidur Rahman Khan back in the race for Jamalpur-4 and Manikganj-2 constituencies respectively.

After the scrutiny, the party had no candidate for these four seats.