The Election Commission has banned city corporation polls candidates from using billboards and live animal and birds in their publicity campaigns. “A sub-clause is being included into the electoral code of conduct to this end,” senior assistant secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat, Mohammad Forhad Hossain told bdnews24.com.
EC secretary Mohammad Sadique requested the law ministry to issue a circular on the matter in a letter sent on Monday. Out of the 68 symbols set to be allocated to mayor and councillor posts contenders under the local government election guideline, 12 are pictures of animals and birds – tiger, duck, butterfly, fish, crocodile, rabbit, parrot, deer, stork, cow, chicken and elephant.
“Any candidate might be allocated such symbol. A rule is being imposed so that they cannot campaign with live animals matching the symbol,” Forhad added. “Candidates were seen campaigning door-to-door with live chickens. In Sylhet, one of the candidates campaigned by riding an elephant. Such news has caused debates and drawn criticism. The commission decided to amend the code of conduct to stop such publicity stunts.”
The Election Commission took the initiative to remove six symbols – camel, book, conch-shell, sword, date tree and minar- dubbing them religiously significant before the ninth national polls but did not succeed. There are currently 141 symbols on the EC list. Forhad also said that the use of billboards for campaigning will also be banned and the restrictions on processions, pasting posters on walls, leaflets and handbills would be further clarified in the amendment. The maiden polls to the newly formed Comilla City Corporation will be held on Jan 5.