AB Party raises concerns of harassment with EC

AB Party leaders hand over the memorandum of concerns to the EC secretary on 24 May, 2023.Courtesy

The Amar Bangladesh (AB) Party has submitted a memorandum of concerns and demands to the chief election commissioner (CEC) through the commission secretary, Jahangir Alam.

An AB Party delegation, consisting of party convener AFM Solaiman Chowdhury, senior members Mojibur Rahman Monju, Barrister Asaduzzaman Fuaad, and Barrister Zubair Ahmed Bhuiyan, presented the memorandum at the election commission (EC) headquarters on Wednesday, read a press release.

The AB Party's concerns revolve around the ongoing field-level inspection of the EC officials across the country. The inspection is being carried out to assess the claimed existence of party offices, verify the presence of local committee members, and ensure that the party meets the requirement of at least two hundred voter members in metropolitan and district sub-units as well as thana and upazila areas.

The inspection is being carried out in accordance with section 90 of the RPO 1972 and the Rules of Political Party Registration - 2008.

The AB Party said while most visits were prearranged through official letters, some inspections took place suddenly, resulting in no one being present at the party offices to receive the officials.

According to the release, the EC officials went to inspect the party’s central office on 2 May and it was followed by visits in district offices. Some EC officials called 20 of the voter members and committee to attend party office on a particular time, date with their NIDs in less than a 24-hour notice.

The party claimed that its members residing outside the inspection areas faced difficulties attending on short notice due to various reasons, like work, business, or family issues.Also, there is continuous harassment and intimidation by various agencies, causing distress among its activists.

The AB Party also brought attention to incidents of vandalism and threats directed at their offices. Ruling party workers were reported to have removed AB Party signboards as these were placed without their permission. Also, some landlords of AB party offices were forced to cancel tenancy agreements without prior notice. There are instances of vandalism in the offices.

The party alleged that a few of EC officials were very unhelpful and behaved badly.

The memorandum aims to address the challenges faced during the inspection process and ensure a fair and transparent assessment of their eligibility for registration.

In response, the EC secretary assured the delegation that their issues would be carefully examined.

A decision regarding the registration of the new political party is expected to be made by June.