Western diplomats have been unusually active during Dhaka’s mayoral polls this month.
The senior political analysts in US, UK and Canada missions are Bangladesh nationals with right wing antecedents.
They have been the most active.
A long serving political analyst at US embassy in Dhaka has been an activist of the Islamist Chatra Shibir, the student wing of the right wing Jamaat-e-Islami.
He worked for Telegraph owned by Maulana Mannan leading Jamaat killer squads in 1971.
He is the springboard for diplomatic mobilization during polls, including the ongoing polls for Dhaka North and Dhaka South corporations, raising a stink over the fairness of the poll process.
“With this US embassy analyst, those from UK and Canadian high commission have been busy upholding the BNP-Jamaat case,” said a top Awami League leader but he was not willing to be quoted during the poll process for obvious reasons.
“These local analysts are most biased and they seek to spoil Bangladesh’s relations with governments they serve,” the Awami League leader added.
The Election Commission has strangely included 38 Bangladesh nationals working in foreign missions in Dhaka on the list of the 70 plus foreign observers for the polls.
“How can Bangladesh nationals who are sure to have political bias be treated as foreign observers. This is unbelievable,” another Awami League leader said.
He said the British government was sheltering convicted criminals like BNP leader Tarique Rahman and even many war criminals convicted for rape and murder during the 1971 liberation war.
“That points to their agenda,” he said.
The Election Commission has declared valid 13 mayoral candidates, out of 14, for contesting the elections to Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), which are slated for February 1.
The lone candidate whose candidature was declared invalid was Jatiya Party’s GM Kamrul Islam, who wanted to join the DNCC mayoral race.
After scrutinizing the nomination papers, DNCC Returning Officer Abul Kashem declared six mayoral candidatures, including that of Awami League’s Atiqul Islam and BNP’s Tabith Awal valid and Kamrul’s invalid.
On the other hand, DSCC Returning Officer Abdul Baten declared valid all the seven mayoral candidates — including ruling party’s Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and BNP’s Ishraque Hossain — after scrutinizing the nomination papers, at Bir Muktizodda Sadeque Hossain Khoka Community Centre at Gopibagh.
5.8 million people – 3,035,621 in DNCC and 2,767,488 in DSCC— can vote under the two city corporations .
The number of possible polling stations is 1,349 under 54 wards in DNCC, and 1,124 under 75 wards in DSCC.
The last elections to both city corporations were held together on April 28, 2015.