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A video of the conversation between the returning officer and the candidates went viral on social media. Returning officer Alamgir Hossain seemed to be embarrassed in the video when the candidates asked him how their nomination papers were withdrawn. In reply, the returning officer made these remarks about MP Iqbal Hossain.

On Wednesday morning, at least 25 candidates for the member posts thronged the office of the returning officer. All of them alleged that they did not withdraw their nomination papers. Their signatures have been forged. They all want the election.

When asked about this, MP Iqbal Hossain told Prothom Alo over the mobile phone, “I did not give any such decision. Who am I to take such a decision? These are lies. As far I know both parties made this decision together. Both Salam Hawladar and Harun Hawladar took this decision together.”

In the meantime returning officer Alamgir Hossain said, “According to the electoral codes, nomination papers cannot be withdrawn on anyone’s order. I cannot recall the context in which I made these remarks about the MP.”

Alamgir Hossain further said that Tuesday (26 October) was the last day for withdrawal of nomination papers in the second phase of UP elections. On that day, some 40-50 candidates from different wards and people on their behalf applied for the withdrawal of nomination papers.

"We verified the authenticity of the signatures on applications and prepared a list of the candidates to be elected unopposed in different wards. If anyone denies this, they can take legal action." Alamgir Hossain added.

Awami League candidate Harun Ar Rashid is going to be elected unopposed for the post of chairman in Chitalia UP election. He is the vice-president of Sadar upazila Awami League. Other candidates have alleged that he forged the signatures to ensure victories of the candidates of his choice.

Speaking to Prothom Alo regarding the allegation, Harun Ar Rashid said, “I do not know who has withdrawn their nomination papers and why. There was no pressure on anybody to withdraw their nomination papers. The opposition is spreading false propaganda against me.”

Elections will be held on 11 November in 10 union parishads of Shariatpur Sadar upazila. There are “rebel” candidates of Awami League in six of these unions. According to the returning officer's office, in Chitalia union, a total of 48 candidates filed nomination papers for the member posts and 12 for reserved women member posts and their nominations were deemed valid.

Of these, some 39 candidates for the post of members and nine for the post of reserved women members withdrew their nominations on Tuesday. However, speaking to at least 20 candidates yesterday, it was learnt that none of them applied for withdrawal of nomination papers.

Abdul Hai Mridha in ward No. 1, Chhaleman Hawladar in ward No. 2, Nannu Maal in ward No. 3, Farooq Munshi in ward No. 4, Tariqul Islam in ward No. 5 and Dhiren Haldar in ward No. 6 Salam Talukder in ward No. 7, Alilur Rahman Sardar in ward No. 8 and S Azizul Haque in ward No. 9 are going to be elected members in the election of Chitalia union parishad.

And for the post of reserved woman members, Monowara Begum is going to be elected uncontested in ward No. 1, 2 and 3, Razia Begum in ward No. 4, 5 and 6 and Nilufar Yasmin in ward No. 7, 8 and 9.

On condition of anonymity, a candidate for the post of UP member in ward No. 6 told Prothom Alo, “Someone forged our signatures and applied for the withdrawal of the nomination papers. As soon as I got to know about this, I rushed to the office of the returning officer. But instead of helping us, the returning officer said the MP took this decision. In the meantime, Harun Ar Rashid, who has been elected chairman uncontested, is intimidating us over the phone to remain silent.”

Awami League president of ward No. 1, Md Ayub Ali and general secretary Emdad Hossain submitted the nomination papers to contest for the post of UP members in the election. They came to know on Wednesday that their nomination papers were withdrawn.

These two leaders said someone has done this forging their signatures. “How did someone behave like this with us when our party is in power?” they asked.

They also complained that a BNP-backed candidate has been elected uncontested.

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