Elections to the Cumilla City Corporation (CCC), the first test for the new Election Commission (EC), will be held on 15 June.
EC Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker announced the election schedule at the EC Bhaban at Agargaon in the capital on Monday.
Khandaker said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal wants a level playing field in the elections to ensure the participation of all parties.
In addition to the CCC elections, voting will be held in 135 unions, eight municipalities and one upazila of Cumilla under the same schedule, the EC secretary said, adding that all the polls will be held through the use of electronic voting machines (EVM).
According to the election schedule, the last date for submission of nomination papers is 17 May, scrutiny of nomination papers is on 19 May, filing of appeal on 20-22 May and disposal of appeals will be on 23-25 May. The last day for withdrawal of candidature is 26 May while election symbols will be allocated on 27 May.
In order to keep the CCC election free from local influence, Director of EC Secretariat Shahedunnabi will be the returning officer of the CCC Election instead of the regional election officer, said the EC secretary.
After the formation of Cumilla City Corporation in 2011, the first election for the corporation was held in January 2012, with the second taking place in March 2017.
In both the elections, BNP candidate Monirul Haque Sakku won the mayoral post. As such, Sakku has been mayor of Cumilla for the last one decade.
In the last CCC election, Sakku defeated his nearest rival, Awami League candidate Anjum Sultana Seema, by more than 11,000 votes.
Asked if he would contest the forthcoming election as well, Mayor Sakku said, "If the party decides to take part in the polls, I will seek the nomination. Many leaders and activists of my party have supported and worked with me during the last 10 years. I will consult with them also, and if they suggest, I will participate in the election."
Cumilla city Awami League (AL) General Secretary Arfanul Haque Rifat is most likely to be a candidate from the party, according to party sources.
Rifat told The Business Standard, "At a meeting of the city Awami League, everyone supported me for the mayoral post. I hope the prime minister will appreciate my contribution to the party."
The names of Cumilla district (south) BNP Member Kawser Zaman Bappi, Education and Human Resources Affairs Secretary of Cumilla city AL Kabirul Islam Sikder, Swechchhasebak Dal President Nizam Uddin Kaiser, city AL's Youth and Sports Affairs Secretary Anisur Rahman Mithu, city AL's Relief and Social Welfare Affairs Secretary Nur-ur-Rahman Mahmud Tanim, Cumilla Chamber of Commerce President Masud Parvez Khan Imran, and Member Secretary of Muktijoddha Major Momin Foundation Kazi Faruk Ahmed are also being discussed as probable candidates for the mayoral office.
The CCC election was supposed to be held earlier, but the EC failed to hold the polls in time due to complications over electoral area demarcation.
The term of the present city corporation will end on 16 May. Under the law, voting for the next city corporation has to be held within 180 days of the expiry of the term of the present one. ***