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Sankirtan Das | HENB | Dhaka | January 19, 2020:: The Election Commission (EC) of Bangladesh has changed the date of the Dhaka city Mayoral Election from January 30 to February 1 after widespread Hindu protests as the earlier date fell on the Saraswati Puja day.
The decision was taken last evening in an emergency meeting of the EC held in Dhaka.
Briefing the media after EC meeting, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said the date was shifted so that no one’s religious sentiment is hurt. (Thanks God, the Islamist CEC, BD got back his sense ultimately that he took a wrong decision earlier to fix the poll date on a Hindu festival day! ~ Upananda Brahmachari, Ed. Hindu Existence Website).
In accordance with the new dates, the government has also deferred the SSC and its equivalent examinations from February 1 to February 3.
There were widespread protests in Dhaka University complex, press club and other spots in the capital of Bangladesh against the earlier date coinciding with Saraswati Puja which is a second major festival of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Students of Dhaka University had gone on fast unto death+ demanding the change of polling date. Political parties including Awami League and the BNP led Jatiya Oikya front had also supported the demand for change in date.
Earlier, the High Court had refused to change the date of Mayoral elections for Dhaka. Subsequently, the aggrieved parties filed petition to Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
The strike by Dhaka University students was withdrawn last night after the announcement of new dates by the EC.
Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, Dhaka Mahanagar Puja Udjapon Samiti and Bangladesh Jatiyo Hindu Mahajot also withdrew their week-long protests against the election dates.
Ultimately, the Islamist attitude of Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda to block Hindu voters by fixing election date on a major Hindu festival, went off before a huge Hindu protests.
Both the major parties of Bangladesh, the ruling Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) welcomed the decision of the EC to change the poll date for Saraswati Puja.
___Inputs from AIR.