AL wants law enforcers to maintain law & order during polls

19 Oct,2017


Dhaka, BdChronicle:

Awami League on Wednesday proposed the Election Commission (EC) that the law enforcement agencies should maintain the law and order in every constituency during the polls to be held in December 2018.

“The responsibility of maintaining law and order in every constituency should be entrusted with police and other law enforcement agencies after the announcement of election schedule, on the polls day and for a certain post-election period to be fixed by the Election Commission,” Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader told reporters after EC’s dialogue with Awami League.
About army deployment, he said, “In what situation the members of the military force can be deployed is clearly mentioned in the clause no 129-131 of the Code of Criminal Procedures 1898 and in ‘In aid to civil power’ chapter of the Army Rules.”

A 21-member AL delegation, led by Quader, placed an 11-point proposal taking part in the dialogue held at the city’s Nirbachan Bhaban with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair.

At the meeting that lasted for nearly two hours and 15 minutes, the ruling party proposed the Commission to introduce Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general polls.

“We’ve placed an 11-point proposal… Everyone, including the CEC and other election commissioners, said in one voice that the proposals are neutral ones, which don’t seem to be of any political party to them (commissioners),” said Quader, also Road Transport and Bridges Minister.

He said the CEC and election commissioners termed his party’s proposals ‘very positive’ saying the proposals are essential to hold a free, fair, neutral, credible and participatory election.

Awami League proposed the Commission to consider all the aspects before taking the decision of delimitation of constituencies as the demarcation on the basis of old population census may invite new legal complexities ahead of the next parliamentary election. Besides, the party asked the EC to consider if a big task like delimitation of 30 constituencies can be possible before the next polls. 

“We also told the Commission that we support its move to introduce the Representation of the People Order, 1972 and the Delimitation of Constituencies Ordinance, 1976 in Bangla,” the ruling party leader said.

Its other proposals are submission of the lists of polling agents to the returning officer and assistant returning officers at least three days before the polling day; strict and neutral enforcement of the existing laws in curbing the use of black money and muscle power in the election; appointment of presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers from among the responsible and competent government employees; maintaining highest transparency and caution in appointment of local and foreign observers; taking stern legal action against any unprofessional and irresponsible behaviours of the government employees and organisations engaged in the election duty; taking measures for picking candidates by political parties on the basis of the grassroots opinion; and issuing guidelines to media workers to perform their duty respecting the electoral laws and fixing their work areas providing them with appropriate identity cards.

Replying to a query about AL’s stance over CEC’s remarks hailing BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, Quader said, “Our position is clear. We’ve got the explanation, but we don’t want to say it here.”

“We think the speeches of all – Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commissioners and the Secretary— were useful and positive in the dialogue. Constructive discussion was held,” he added. 

The other members of the AL team are -- Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Mohammad Nasim, Matia Chowdhury, HT Imam, Mashiur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Faruk Khan, Ramesh Chandra Sen, Mohammad Jamir, M Rashidul Alam, Mahabub-ul-Alam Hanif, Dipu Moni, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, HN Ashiqur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Abdus Sobhan Golap and Riazul Kabir Kawsar. 

The EC on August 24 last started dialogue with 40 registered political parties, which will conclude on Thursday next. The Commission already had talks with 38 parties including AL and BNP.

On Sunday last, BNP took part in the EC’s talks and placed its 20-point proposal, including holding the next polls under a supportive government, deployment of army with magistracy power, and dissolving the current parliament before the election.

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