Monday, 5 December, 2022
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Suspension of Gaibandha by-polls was right

Former CECs, commissioners tell EC

Suspension of Gaibandha by-polls was right

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Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal said on Wednesday that former chief election commissioners, election commissioners and secretaries endorsed the Election Commission’s decision over the suspension of the Gaibandha-5 parliamentary seat by-polls, reports UNB.

He made the remarks at the EC headquarters in Dhaka after a meeting with the former officials to discuss the election process.

“The decision to cancel the election at Gaibandha-5 was correct,” he said of the outcome of a closed-door discussion with them. “We invited them to discuss if the decision regarding the Gaibnadha-5 by-polls was fine in line with law. Everybody said it was correct,” he said.

The CEC said that the former election commissioners and secretaries advised the EC to maintain “continuity” of its work and action.

He said that the former election commissioners also told the EC that use of the CCTV cameras and the EVMs are helpful in holding a free and fair election.

But former Election Commissioner Sakhawat Hossain told reporters that he advised the EC to use the CCTV cameras more instead of EVMs.

“Good or bad, there is controversy about EVMs. More use of CCTV cameras will be better with the (same) budget meant for the EVMs at 150 parliamentary seats,” he said.

Where EVMs are needed, use them. (But) ballot papers are possible to find out if they are taken (snatched by someone). Subtle manipulation is possible with EVMs. There is no chaos outside, nothing, but what was going on inside in Gaibandha that we saw,” he said.

Sakhawat said that the Election Commission must maintain the continuity of what it has done regarding Gaibandha-5 by-polls.

Otherwise, he said, people would think that the EC cancelled the election in Gaibandha to just demonstrate a scenario for a different reason.

“So far so good, don't skip the next steps. If you do, then a different message will be sent to the nation that you have done this to show,” he said.   He said that the EC should take action against the people responsible for manipulation in Gaibandha.

If you fail to find out who is guilty and if you don’t take action regarding Gaibandha, then you will not get (the people’s) confidence in the future. So, it must be done,” he said.

“Measures should be taken by applying the power that is there. Action should be taken against the officials who have issued letters claiming that the election was fair, he said in reference to the points he shared during the meeting with the EC.

About the recent move to bring the NID registration under the Ministry of Home Affairs from the Election Commission, he said “Why does the government want to take NID registration under the ministry That is not clear. The Election Commission has developed the system for so many years. Whenever it will be taken the voter list will be questionable at some points, which is not right.”

Former chief election commissioners--Abdur Rauf, KM Nurul Huda, Kazi Rakib Uddin Ahmed, former election commissioners M Sakhawat Hossain, Rafiqul Islam, Kavita Khanam, former EC secretaries Mohammad Sadiq, Mohammad Abdullah, Sirajul Islam, Helal Uddin Ahmed and former additional secretaries Jasmine Tuli and Mokhleshur Rahman took part in the discussion.