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Most candidates are businessmen: report

Staff Correspondent

About 51 per cent of the chairman candidates in the first phase of elections to upazila councils are business man by profession and 21.03 per cent belong to agricultural sector.
Citizens For Good Governance revealed it in its report published on Monday on the affidavits submitted by the candidate along with their nomination papers.
Disclosing the report at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity, the civic group, better known as Sujan, expressed its worry saying that the local government bodies were gradually going under the control of businessmen.  
The report also showed that 13.08 per cent of candidates were engaged in other professions.
‘The candidates consider local government election as one kind of business and they invest in the elections with an intention of amassing money after being elected,’ said the group coordinator Dilip Kumar Sarkar.
The report also featured different sorts of information on chairman aspirants in the first phase elections to be held in 97 upazilas on February 19 and one upazila on February 24.
The report was, however, prepared on the basis of 96 upazilas as the group could not collect information about the rest two.
The report said that 122 of the 428 chairman candidates were accused of various crimes and 15 of them were facing murder charges.
Most of the chairman candidates have higher degree in education with 220 graduates while 78 candidates have not completed secondary level.
Annual income of 289 candidates are less than Tk 5 lakh each, while six candidates annually earn more than Tk 1 crore each.
According to the report, 61 candidates own property of more than Tk 1 crore, including nine having property of over Tk 5 crore; 62 candidates have bank loans and only 103 pay income taxes.
Dilip said that the returning officers and the Election Commission must take necessary steps for massive publicity of these sorts of information on candidates among the voters so that the voters can choose better candidates
He also criticised the political parties for interfering into the upazila election, though it is a non-partisan election.
Group’s executive member Justice Kazi Ebadul Hoque said, ‘We want the local government bodies to run under efficient, skilled and honest leadership. Disclosure of candidates’ information will help voters to choose the right person.’

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