Swadhinata Parishad, a panel consisting of garment makers, has announced it will contest the upcoming elections to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the apex trade body in the apparel sector.
The BGMEA election for the term 2021-23 is scheduled for April 04.
Md Zahangir Alam, convener of the panel, was announced as the leader of the panel at a press conference at a city hotel on Sunday.
Expressing doubt over free and fair elections, Mr Alam said, "We are getting ready to take part in the BGMEA elections."
"In the last elections, we faced obstacles in filing nomination papers," he said and expressed the hope that they would not have to face such odds this time around.
He also urged the BGMEA election board to ensure free and fair elections.
"We want to take part in the trade body's elections to ensure the rights of its members," he added.
Appreciating the BGMEA election board for announcing Hotel Radisson as the polling station, Mr Alam requested them to introduce biometric voter cards to ensure transparency.
"In the last elections, votes of a number of well-known members of the trade body were cast although they were abroad on the election date," he alleged.
Mr Alam also unveiled six-point election manifesto, saying Swadhinata Parishad has specific mission and vision for the betterment of the sector.
If his panel is elected, it would work to set minimum cutting and making prices of products to stop uneven competition among the members, he said.
His other election pledges included setting separate compliance standards for the small and medium factories and opening RMG wings with foreign missions for market diversification.
Responding to a question, Mr Alam said his panel would contest 26 posts of directors in Dhaka zone and would also finalise the names for Chattogram zone.
Two panels -- Forum and Sammilita Parishad -- usually compete in the elections to the apex trade body in the apparel sector while Swadhinata Parishad contested the last elections in 2019.
Earlier, Sammilita Parishad announced Faruque Hassan, managing director of Giant Group, as its panel leader while Forum announced ABM Shamsuddin, chairman of Hannan Group, as its panel leader for the BGMEA upcoming elections.