Swadhinata Parishad, a platform floated by a section of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association members for participating in the BGMEA elections, on Sunday expressed its doubt over the free and fair elections of the trade body to be held on April 4.
‘We are getting prepared to take part in the upcoming elections of the trade body for the term 2021-23 but we are apprehending that the candidates of Swadhinata Parishad may face obstructions to filing nomination papers like they faced in 2019,’ Md Zahangir Alam, convener of the platform, said at a press conference held at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
Requesting the BGMEA election board for ensuring free and fair elections, he alleged that in 2019 a group of people at the BGMEA headquarters in the city assaulted candidates of Swadhinata Parishad and took away nomination papers and other documents.
‘We want to take part in the elections to ensure rights of the members of the trade body, not to use the BGMEA for amassing political power,’ Zahangir said.
He thanked the BGMEA election board for announcing the Hotel Radisson as the polling station and requested it to introduce biometric voter cards during the polls to ensure transparency.
‘In 2019, a number of renowned members of the trade body were abroad on the election date but their votes were casted,’ Zahangir alleged.
Swadhinata Parishad has a specific mission and vision for the betterment of the sector and if the panel is voted to the office of the trade body it would set minimum cutting and making prices of products to stop uneven competition among the members, he said.
Zahangir promised that they would set separate compliance standards for the small and medium factories and to open RMG wing with foreign missions targeting market diversification.
The parishad announced Zahangir Alam as panel leader and said that it would contest for the 26 director posts of the trade body in Dhaka zone.
Traditionally two panels — Sammilita Parishad and Forum– vied the elections of trade body and Zahangir Alam formed Swadhinata Parishad as the third panel to contest the last elections of the trade body in 2019 as the two traditional panels went for a negotiation to avoid voting.
As per the negotiation, Sammilita Parishad and Forum had collectively submitted nominations for 26 posts. Swadhinata Parishad submitted nominations for 18 posts.
Nine directors from Chattogram zone were elected unopposed from the joint panel of Sammilita Parishad and Forum.
Mohammadi Group chairman and Forum leader Rubana Huq was elected president of the BGMEA through negotiation between the two panels.
In 2021, Sammilita Parishad announced Giant Group managing direction Faruque Hassan as its panel leader while Forum announced the name of Hannan Group managing director ABM Shamsuddin as its panel leader for the upcoming elections of the BGMEA.
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