Sunday, 3 July, 2022

EC takes measures to make Cumilla city polls fair

The Election Commission (EC) has taken stringent measures to hold the upcoming Cumilla City Corporation election in a free and fair manner.

As part of the measures, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have been patrolling the city areas since May 15. An executive magistrate is leading the single BGB platoon so that no untoward incident takes place ahead of the polls slated for June 15.

Three other executive magistrates have already been assigned to ensure that the candidates follow the electoral code of conduct properly. Additional law enforcers are usually deployed in a polling area a few days before the polls but this time, BGB has been deployed a month before the polling day.

The candidates are allowed to use megaphones only from 2:00pm to 8:00pm and only one megaphone can be used in each ward for electioneering through the public address (PA) system.

They cannot use a megaphone for a mass rally or procession and another one for campaign in each ward.

The EC will install CCTV cameras in and outside each polling centre and booth, said Election Commissioner Md Alamgir.

The cameras will be installed ahead of the polling day and those will remain in place until few hours into the announcement of the results, he said.

However, the polling booths will remain outside the purview of the CCTV coverage.

Md Shahedunnabi Chowdhury, returning officer of the city polls and NID Wing Director (Operations) of the EC, said police fined 547 motorcycles a total of Tk 1,744,500 while executive magistrates realised Tk 40,800 fine from people in 34 cases for breaching the electoral code of conduct.

In a circular issued recently, the EC urged the candidates to follow the electoral rules strictly, warning of action in case of violation.

Posters used for campaign have to be in black and white and it length, width and height cannot not exceed 3 metres, said the circular.

The candidates are allowed to put simple portrait on the poster and but they cannot use the portrait taken in a position of prayers or procession.

Posters will have to be hanged but cannot be pasted on walls and vehicles. The candidates cannot conduct the campaign before the allocation of polls symbols.

The distribution of voter slips within a 180-metre radius of the polling centre is prohibited.

The aspirants can withdraw candidacy until May 26 and the polls symbols will be allotted among them the next day.

BNP leader Monirul Huq Sakku, who has been expelled from the party recently, defeated the Awami League contestants as an independent candidate in the last two elections held in 2012 and 2017.

On May 19 last, BNP expelled him from the party for life for contesting the polls defying the party decision to boycott all elections under the present government.