More functional local government bodies were suggested
FE REPORT |
January 23, 2022 8:46:46 a.m.
January 23, 2022 4:01:26 p.m.
Calling the recently concluded Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) election a peaceful one, experts on Saturday focused on decentralizing power to local government bodies to make them more functional.
They also suggested installing a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system in the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine) which allows the EVM to record every vote cast by generating the EVM slip, helping to settle numerous allegations of electoral fraud.
They made the suggestions during a virtual dialogue about the NCC polls that just ended.
The local think tank Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) hosted the online discussion where Planning Minister MA Mannan was present as the main guest. Dr. Rounaq Jahan, a distinguished CPD colleague, moderated the event.
Citizens Secretary for Good Governance or SHUJAN Dr. Badiul Alam Majumder said the recent NCC election was not a controlled election as the role of local government and election commission in the polls was satisfactory .
Internal and external pressure could have prompted the government to organize the elections in a free, fair and participatory manner, he observed.
Referring to NCC Independent Mayoral aspirant Taimur Alam Khandakar’s allegation of vote rigging through EVM, he said it was not possible to verify the assertion with the existing EVM because there was no VVPAT.
“I think the NCC election is unique in the current circumstances and we should learn from it,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, victorious NCC Mayor Dr Selina Hayat Ivy said there were many conspiracies against her in the polls but she overcame all the odds with the support of the people. ordinary.
The management of the municipal corporation under the existing local government structure becomes very difficult due to the non-cooperation of other public entities, she said.
Ivy, the three-term NCC mayor, said the government issued a circular several years ago, asking utility agency authorities to follow the decisions of the respective municipal corporations.
“But unfortunately nobody is cooperating with us. We organize meetings where the agencies send junior officials who don’t have the power to make decisions. Such meetings are meaningless,” she said.
CPD Chairman Prof. Rehman Sobhan emphasized the government’s willingness to hold acceptable elections here.
It will not be possible for the electoral commission to organize free, fair and acceptable elections if the government apparatus deployed in the polls is not willing to do so, he said.
“Unless there are serious institutional changes in the decentralization of power to local government bodies, people will continue to face problems. Thus, decentralization of authorities is essential,” he added. .
Local government expert Dr. Tofail Ahmed said the NCC election was good because the ruling party candidate was strong enough in terms of personal image and leadership skills.
“That’s why the ruling party candidate only relied on the people. But the question is whether the ruling party nominates such candidates in other elections,” he said.
Along with the decentralization of power for better functioning of local government entities, he cited the example of Calcutta Municipality’s electoral system where the mayor was chosen from elected councilors like the parliamentary system.
Lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon said the main obstacle to the proper functioning of local government was bureaucracy.
“Bureaucrats are not interested in delegating their powers to local authorities. Without this, local government bodies will not be able to operate independently,” he added.
Speaking as the chief guest, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that many public bodies did not participate in the co-ordinating committee headed by the mayor.
“This is a very common difficulty in our system of government and the Prime Minister is well aware of it,” he said.
“Decentralization cannot be achieved by orders. Decentralization will come through evolution and evolution will come through practice,” he said, adding that his government was working on it.