Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said that polling centres would be closed if any form of violence erupted during Rangpur city elections.
He was speaking after an Election Commission (EC) meeting on Sunday with law enforcement agencies about maintaining law and order during the upcoming Rangpur elections on December 21.
The meeting with top officials of the law enforcement agencies, including the police, RAB, BGB and Ansar, at Nirbachan Bhaban was held to ensure an equal playing field for all political parties and to maintain law and order at polling stations.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Nurul Huda said: “To prevent violence during the polls, over 35,000 members from different law enforcement agencies will be deployed in the Rangpur city polling areas on election day. Members of 22 law enforcement agencies will be present at normal polling stations while 24 at centres deemed vulnerable.”
The Rangpur election is going to be the litmus test for the upcoming general elections because this will be the last local elections before the general election. Political parties will be able to assess the EC’s ability to hold a free and fair election and, after months of dialogues, see any of their recommendations has been taken into account, not to mention the fact that this local election might be able to gauge the grassroots popularity of the political parties in play, mainly the Awami League and the BNP.
The CEC assured that the main objective of the EC is to ensure a free and fair election and that they will not pander to the will of any one political party, responding to a comment about the BNP saying that the Rangpur election is going to be a test for the EC.
There is about 380,000 registered voters in Rangpur city with 193 polling centres.
The last day of submission of nomination papers is November 22 and for withdrawal is December 3.
Speaking about the recent violence that broke out in Thakurpara village, Rangpur the CEC said he had spoken to law enforcement officials about protecting the minorities in the area during the elections as well.
On November 10, more than 30 Hindu houses were ransacked and set on fire in Thakurpara village by an angry mob over an allegedly inflammatory Facebook post about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).