Awami League will drum up support for Electronic Voting Machine | 2017-05-19 |

Awami League will drum up support for Electronic Voting Machine

Staff Correspondent     19th May, 2017 09:57:08 printer

Awami League will drum up support for Electronic Voting Machine

Ruling Awami League will drum up public support for e-voting in next parliamentary elections.


E-voting is widely practiced in other democratic countries, although Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) opposes the system in Bangladesh.


Both the parties are already locked in a debate over e-voting.


AL insiders said e-voting is the only mode for holding a credible and neutral election, but BNP leaders termed the system ‘faulty’.


AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said, “We would favour the digital system for holding a credible and neutral general election.”


“If the Election Commission (EC) seeks our opinion, we shall give our opinion in favour of the digital system,” he mentioned.


BNP has been trying to create panic spreading misleading information to people over Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), AL insiders said.


The ruling party will launch a campaign in favour of the digital system to counter BNP’s falsehood, they said.


BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that the Election Commission officials’ statements on introducing EVM in the next general election is a ‘reflection’ of the intention of the government.


“The EC’s statement reflects the intention of the government. On an earlier occasion, an adviser to the prime minister said EVM will be used in the next general elections. Bringing the issue before public is ill-motivated,” Rizvi said pointing at EC.


Despite difference of opinions of the two major political parties, EC has formulated a draft policy for holding the 11th parliamentary elections.


EC is expected to finalise its roadmap at a meeting scheduled to be held on May 23.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said EVM will be used in next parliamentary elections if all the political parties and the government agree to it.


“We are working over the issue. EVM should be introduced on experimental basis with consents from all political parties and stakeholders,” he said.


Sources said EVM will be used in the next general elections, if the EC proves its capability in holding elections under the system.


The EC plans to sit with the political parties to know their opinions in this regard.


As part of its plan, it will hold talks with the political parties from July onward to make the next election participatory.


Sources said the AL-led government intends to set an example like that of India, where Indian EC holds credible and neutral polls for years together. 


AL insiders said the Indian government formed the Electoral Reforms Committee in January, 1990. The committee consisted of representatives of several recognised national and state parties.


The committee also constituted a technical expert committee for evaluation of EVM system. 


The committee concluded terming EVM ‘a secure system’. In April, 1990, it unanimously recommended for EVM without further delay.


Since 2000, one hundred seven elections were held through this system to elect state legislative assembly members. Three Lok Sabha elections were also held through e-voting in 2004, 2009 and 2014.


The issue of possible tampering of EVM was raised before various high courts, including Madras, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala and Bombay.


Examining all aspects of EVM (technological and administrative), the aforesaid high courts approved the digital system. Credible, reliable and tamper-proof elections were held in India through this system.


AL insiders said the Bangladesh government wants to follow the Indian system.


AL joint general secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif also said AL is in favour of e-voting in next general election.


“Elections at all democratic countries are held through this system. Why does Bangladesh lag behind?” he posed a question.


“EVM was partially used in Narayanganj City Corporation and Chittagong City Corporation polls. It yielded a positive result,” he said, adding that a credible election is very much possible through e-voting.