Educational qualifications should be the basic requirement for every political candidate. As a candidate, a master's degree and expertise in law, economics, political science, governance or any other discipline should be prioritised. Candidates operating, sponsoring and financing green companies and organisations should be the first choice.

Environmental plans should be of top priority for the city voters from Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet and other developed and commercial cities. The voters should be looking for candidates with proper tree plantation projects. The parliamentary candidates of the metropolitans should develop tree plantation plans in vacant spaces and rooftops.

Air pollution has made Bangladeshis wear face masks even before Covid-19. Repairing trucks and buses that release black fumes and controlling the transportation of sand or construction materials can reduce air pollution. Candidates with structured air pollution controlling mechanisms and air quality improvement plans should be of priority to the voters.

Developed waterways will reduce water pollution and the spread of diseases like diarrhoea. The expansion of the mosquitos can be eliminated by improving city lake or river water freshness. Hatirjheel is a wonderful example, and the upcoming parliamentary candidates should adopt similar ideas.

Waste management system of Bangladesh needs proper governance. The mismanagement and sorting of wastes on the streets of Dhaka and other cities lead to water pollution, mosquito expansion, air pollution and diseases. Voters must look to candidates with projects on turning waste into energy.

Energy security is Bangladesh’s top priority now to ensure fast-paced GDP growth. Renewable energy projects using solar technology (rotating solar panels), wind turbines (rooftops for cities), rainwater storage systems and waste-to-energy mechanisms should be the election slogan points for the candidates.

Parks, playgrounds and walkable footpaths are limited to the cities of Bangladesh, especially Dhaka. Playgrounds are mandatory for maintaining a healthy population in the country. Walkable footpaths are required to enjoy a beautiful walk anywhere in Dhaka.

Cleanliness and aesthetics of Dhaka can be primarily achieved by removing overhead wires in Dhaka. Sylhet was the very first city in Bangladesh to eliminate overhead cables. The voters must demand similar elimination of overhead cables just like Sylhet, in their respective cities and locations.

Food security is a challenge for Bangladesh due to the war between Ukraine-Russia. Cities should focus on food production on rooftops which will help create sustainable urban cities in Bangladesh. Voters must have a keen vision for rooftop agriculture.

Voting is a choice and one’s personal preference. We are free to vote for any political party we like.  A voter's fundamental duty is to choose the qualified candidate fit for Bangladesh. And political parties must field qualified candidates suitable for transforming Bangladesh into a digital, green, sustainable and developed economy.

* Asheer Shah is a research associate at BIPSS and can be reached at [email protected]