Dhaka, Sunday, 05 December 2021

BGMEA election campaigns in full swing  

BGMEA election campaigns in full swing

Apparel Correspondent: Campaigns for the upcoming election of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) are in full swing as two major panels in the running announced their election manifestos.

The members of the top organization of the country’s readymade garments (RMG) industry are taking part in the biennial election divided into two panels. The current president of BGMEA Rubana Haq's panel is contesting under the name 'Forum' and former president of BGMEA Abdus Salam Murshedy’s panel is contesting under the name 'Sammilita Parishad'.

Apart from these two panels, another panel called ‘Swadhinata Parishad’ led by Jahangir Alam, Managing Director of Design and Sources, also announced to contest the poll. However, it eventually merged with the 'Sammilita Parishad' and entered the electoral fray.

ABM Shamsuddin, managing director of Hannan Group, is heading the ‘Forum’ panel of current BGMEA President Rubana Huq, who is also contesting in the election from the same panel. On the other hand, Faruque Hassan, Managing Director of Giant Group and former vice-president of BGMEA is heading the 'Sammilita Parishad’ panel.

In this election, 70 candidates of the two panels are contesting for the posts of 35 directors of Dhaka and Chattogram.

Sources said the list of candidates was finalized on March 4. Since then, the candidates of both the panels have started campaigning. Meanwhile, a disagreement occurred between the two panels over the voter list and the place of polling. But they agreed later on. The electioneering is becoming busy with the reciprocal statements of both the panels.

According to the schedule, the voting will be held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel and the BGMEA office in Chattogram from 10am to 5pm on April 4. There are 1,853 voters in the Dhaka region and 461 voters in Chattogram region in the final voter list.

Earlier, Jahangir Alam, Managing Director of Design and Sources, formed a new panel called ‘Swadhinata Parishad’ in 2019 with a call to come out of the culture of 'leadership through compromise'. He hinted at a fight with a full panel in the upcoming election. Most recently, he joined the 'Sammilita Parishad’ with the panel.

In this regard, Jahangir said, "My main demand was that the election should be held democratically and not through compromise. Leaders were elected by consensus for several years. It cannot be accepted in any way. So my demand was that the voters would elect their leader through fair elections. Since the election is taking place, at the request of the senior leaders of the 'Sammilita Parishad’, I am taking part in the election in alliance with that panel.”

In the election, the 'Sammilita Parishad’ has taken only Jahangir Alam from the ‘Swadhinata Parishad’ as its candidate.

Earlier last month, while inaugurating the election office of 'Sammilita Parishad’ in the capital’s Gulshan, former BGMEA president and the panel's coordinator, Abdus Salam Murshedy with other leaders expressed their opposition to the biometric voter list.

Abdus Salam Murshedy said, “I want to assure you that the election will be free and fair even if there is no opportunity for using biometrics this year.”

He also said that people are making harsh comments about the election. Some are talking about listing voters with updated photos, digital voter ID cards or biometrics. However, to decide on any issue, it must be passed by the AGM, which the present board has not done. So there is no scope for biometrics.

Fazle Shamim Ehsan, a member of the 'Sammilita Parishad’s’ campaign team, said, “Making biometric voter lists mandatory will complicate future elections. If even a voter from home and abroad is excluded from this process and goes to court, then the election will be stopped. That is why we have said that this regulation cannot be introduced for the time being without amending the constitution.”

‘Forum’ panel leader ABM Shamsuddin said, “They (Sammilita Parishad) had obstructed the biometric voter list for transparency. Although voting is scheduled at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel, they now want to vote at the under-construction BGMEA building in Uttara. From these activities, it is understood that they have bad motives about the election.”

Meanwhile, the ‘Forum’ leaders said that the leaders of the ‘Sammilita Parishad’ were busy using the BGMEA post to become Ministers- Parliament Members (MPs) without working in the interest of the industry. So some Ministers-MPs are seen with them. We want to work for the interest of the entire industry.

‘Sammilita Parishad’ leaders said we would like to continue all the good works of the present board. Besides, our board will work to brand Bangladesh in the global market. We also want to take the RMG sector a long way with the cooperation of all associations.

Earlier, in 2019, the ‘Forum’ and ‘Sammilita Parishad’ won all the 35 seats in a joint election. In 2013, these two panels competed in the BGMEA election. Atiqul Islam, the current mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, became the BGMEA president from the ‘Sammilita Parishad’ in that election.