'The national election will be disputed as a result of the use of these machines'
Nagorik Oikya held a discussion on boycotting the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at the National Press club auditorium Wednesday afternoon.
Dhaka University Professor of Law Asif Nazrul said: “EVMs are a controversial issue which is why they are avoided around the world. A German court considered the EVMs as an opaque process. I think government is trying to take away the voting rights of the Bangladeshi people by implementing the EVMs.”
The discussion “Boycott of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)s, national election and political alliance” was organized by Nagorik Oikya and presided over by its Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
“The national election will be disputed as a result of the use of these machines,” he added.
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said: “We are here to establish an unpolluted government based on secularism.”
Dr Kamal appreciated the youth’s protest during Quota and Road Safety movement. He urged them to be united to defeat “evil powers” and emphasized on growing their political consciousness.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir considered Begum Khaleda Zia’s imprisonment as violation of the constitution and said: “The unelected government is showing its true colours by repressing those who are speaking against the government. They are filing “ghost cases” against our leaders and activists ahead of the national election.
Referencing the protesters’ and renowned photographer Shahidul Alam’s detention, Fakhrul said: “The government’s repression is getting so bad that it is just below the level of Pakistan’s repression during 1971.”
He further said that the government has become politically corrupt.
Founder and President of the left-wing Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (National Socialist Party) ASM Abdur Rab said: “The main responsibility of a political party is to reflect the people’s will by their work. General people of the country do not want the government anymore. It is our duty to say good-bye to the incumbent government.”
“If we fail to fulfill public demands, we will fail politically,” he added.
He urged the government to stop the “Kangaroo trail” of Begum Khaleda Zia and said that was a clear violation of the constitution.
With the national election nearly four months away, the Election Commission has drawn up plans to use EVMs at polling centres in one-third of the country’s 300 constituencies. The move was immediately criticized by different quarters, including by political parties like BNP and left leaning organizations.
Ruling partyBangladesh Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had expressed her support for limited use of EVMs in the upcoming 11th national election.
Kalyan Party Chairman Major General (retd) Syed Muhammad Ibrahim, Jahangirnagar UniversityPolitical Science Department Professor Dr Dilara Chowdhury were present among others at the discussion.