Oikya Front urges EC not to announce polls schedule
The Jatiya Oikya Front has requested the election commission to refrain from announcing the election schedule until dialogues between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition parties end.
A delegation of the Oikya Front went to the secretariat of the election commission at Agargaon in the city on Monday and made the request.
The delegation includes Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rab, BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
The Oikya Front leaders held a meeting with chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda, four other commissioners and the EC secretary.
UNB adds: Talking to reporters after the meeting, Abdur Rab said they had discussions with the EC in a cordial manner based on their seven-point demand they placed before the prime minister during their talks with her on 1 November.
He said the commission agreed to some issues they raised at the meeting while it could not give its final decision on some others, including deployment of army and the use of EVMs in the election.
“We requested them not to announce the election schedule before the outcome of our dialogue (with the prime minister) on 7 November… it seems they may consider our request,” Rab said.
He said the EC has assured them that it will ensure the security of polling agents during the election so that they can perform their duties boldly and safely inside every voting centre.
The JSD president said the Commission also told them that it will ensure so that the agents get the authorised result sheets at every centre after the vote counting. “They also assured us that no signature will be taken from the polling agents before the counting of votes.”
He said they called upon the EC not to use EVMs in the election as most political parties and voters do not want it. “But, they (EC) couldn’t give us any final decision on it.”
Rab said they demanded deployment of army with the magistracy power so that they can arrest troublemakers and terrorists to ensure a fair election. “The CEC said he didn’t say the army won’t be deployed.”
He said the CEC talked about the deployment of army as a striking force and they opposed it. “They (EC) heard it, but didn’t give any final decision on it.”
Later, briefing reporters, EC secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the issue of army deployment will be discussed after the announcement of the election schedule.
He said the Commission has preparations for announcing the schedule for the 11th parliamentary elections on Thursday. “The decision will be finalised at the EC meeting at 10am on that day.”
Earlier on Saturday, Kamal Hossain, on behalf of the Oikya Front, sent a letter to the CEC requesting him not to announce the next general election schedule until the ongoing dialogue is over.
However, the election commission on Sunday said it would announce the schedule for the next parliamentary election on 8 November.
The decision came at a meeting of the Commission with the CEC in the chair.