There is no scope to defer the polls, election commissioner says
Election Commissioner Md Rafiqul Islam has said members of the armed forces will not be deployed at the forthcoming elections to the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC).
However, unarmed army personnel would be present at the polling centres to provide technical support for the polls, especially with the operation of electronic voting machines (EVMs), he told journalists after a views-exchange meeting with election officials in the port city on Friday.
He said: "We have not deployed the army in any local government polls and this time also, it will not be an exception. However, there will be a presence of armed forces members, without arms, only to look into the technical aspects of EVM."
On Thursday, BNP-backed mayoral aspirant Shahadat Hossain, after submitting his nomination paper to the returning officer, demanded that the army be deployed at the elections.
The BNP mayoral candidate also demanded the polls be deferred by two days. The Election Commission (EC) has fixed March 29 for holding the elections.
Referring to the demand, Rafiqul Islam said there was no scope to defer the polls due to the Higher Secondary School Certificate examinations.
"Moreover, we cannot think of holding the polls during the monsoon as Chittagong city gets waterlogged during the rainy season.
"The commission is weighing an option of holding the polls without announcing a government holiday as is the case with other countries," the election commissioner said.
Regional Election Officer and Returning Officer Md Hasanuzzaman, district Election Officer Munir Hossain Khan, and Additional Regional Election Officer Md Ataur Rahman, among others, were present at the meeting.