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EC determined to have clean city polls

  • Published at 10:35 pm July 13th, 2018
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File photo of Bangladesh Election Commission secretariat Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Candidates, local MPs and even law enforcement will face stern action if they violate the law or EC's rules

The Election Commission will take a strong position against rules violations in the three upcoming city corporation elections, officials have said.

Candidates, local MPs and even law enforcement will face stern action if they violate the law or EC's rules.

“We will not tolerate anyone breaking the rules. Also no MP can participate in campaigns as the RPO rule has not changed. If any MP disobeys the rules the EC will take strict action against them,” Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd.) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune.

With all eyes on the city corporation elections in Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet on July 30, the EC feels that this will be a harder test than the recent Khulna and Gazipur city polls.

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda also told a press conference on Thursday that law enforcement officials to be posted in the three cities during the elections had been instructed to be strict.

“We instructed them to conduct their work fairly. During the election many complaints may come. But they need to be substantiated.”

BNP, the ruling party's biggest contender in these polls, has raised numerous allegations of bias against the law enforcement agencies.

In Thursday's meeting with government officials, the EC was confronted with questions from the law enforcement about its no arrest without warrants rule.

The election commissioners then told the law enforcement officials that as per the penal code, people arrested have to be produced in court in due time. They also urged police not to issue new arrest warrants in old cases.

EC officials said the three city elections were sensitive as all major parties want to win at any cost.

According to the meeting worksheet, a total of 22 personnel from police, Ansar and VDP will be deployed in each polling centre, and two more in the risky centres.

In the three cities a total of 88 platoons of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) - 30 in Rajshahi, 31 in Barisal and 27 in Sylhet – will be deployed.

Another 44 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) will be deployed.

Teams of law enforcers, called mobile force and strike force, consisting of police, APBN and Ansar will be on patrol in each city.

Executive and judicial magistrates will work with the law enforcement as well.

The teams will be on the ground starting two days before the voting day till the day after. The EC has recommended that RAB and police teams be kept outside the polling stations as strike forces.