Bangladesh to deploy army in crucial civic poll

October 16th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Oct 16 (IANS) The Bangladesh Election Commission Sunday decided to deploy the army for ensuring free and fair mayoral polls of the Narayanganj city corporation slated for Oct 30.

“We’ve decided to deploy army personnel as striking and mobile forces from Oct 28 morning,” Election Commissioner Sakhawat Hossain told media, Xinhua reported.

The newly-formed corportation of the river port Narayanganj, about 32 km from Dhaka, has a total of 403,706 voters including 203,096 men and 200,610 women.

Hossain said the commission secretariat sent a letter to the principal staff officer of the armed forces division Sunday, seeking four companies of soldiers for deployment in Narayanganj. Each company consists of 90 to 100 troops.

The commission decided to deploy army as two of the three heavyweight mayoral candidates have made strong plea for this.

According to the country’s electoral rules, municipal elections are to be held in a non-partisan manner, but political parties indirectly nominate candidates to test their popularity at the local level.

Political analysts said the city corporation elections come as a test case for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League government, which came to power in January 2009, as the main opposition party alleges that the government’s popularity is fading.

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