'We want to organize an inclusive election'
The city corporation elections cannot be held as a standard for how the upcoming 11th national election will be organized, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda has said.
"Questions should not be raised over the upcoming 11th general polls based on how the city corporation elections were held," the CEC said in a meeting with various representatives of law enforcement agencies- including RAB, police and BGB- at the Election Commission office in Agargaon on Thursday.
However, the CEC added that law enforcement agencies had promised to ensure that the upcoming polls in Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal were held in a free and fair manner so that questions over the national polls would not be raised.
RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed, Inspector General of Bangladesh Police Mohammad Javed Patwari, and chief officials of the NSI and DGFI were among those in attendance, as were the returning officers of Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal and four election commissioners.
"We want to organize an inclusive election," Nurul Huda further said. "I am optimistic BNP will participate in the upcoming polls."
When asked what the EC would do about BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia being in jail, the CEC said it was a matter of the court and the commission had no involvement in the issue.
He added that the 11th national election will be held on a level playing field, just like the city corporation elections. “We have delivered instructions to hold the polls in a free and fair manner.”
The CEC also emphasized the importance of the upcoming Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal polls, set to be held before the national election.
Regarding claims from BNP that the city polls in Gazipur and Khulna were rife with irregularities, KM Nurul Huda said the allegations were yet to be authenticated.
According to the work sheet from the meeting, various platoons of BGB, Police, APBN and Ansar would be deployed to ensure security at the polls in Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal.
In Rajshahi, there are 138 polling centres for 318,138 voters, while there are 123 for 242,166 in Barisal, and 134 for 321,732 in Sylhet.
The meeting with the representatives started at 11am on Wednesday and ended at around 1:30pm. Later, CEC met with reporters at around 1:45pm.