CEC Huda says situation in Rangpur city polls under control
Published: 08:37 PM, 20 December 2017 Updated: 09:39 PM, 3 January 2018
Daily Bangladesh Desk
Just hours before the beginning of the polls, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has said that the `situation is under control` and the Election Commission is all set to hold a free and fair election to the Rangpur City Corporation.
“All preparations are done. We believe an orderly, fair and credible election will be held,” Huda said while briefing the media at the election offices in Dhaka’s Agargaon on Wednesday. The Rangpur city polls are due to begin Thursday morning.
He noted that Jatiya Party, the opposition party in parliament, was satisfied with the preparations.
Election officers, Md Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam, Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury and acting EC secretary Helaluddin Ahmed were present at the briefing.
The commission, earlier, announced that it would use Electronic Voting Machine or EVM at one centre during the Rangpur city polls.
“CCTV camera will be used in three polling centres in Rangpur. The EVM will be used in one of them only if we feel it completely safe,” the CEC said on Wednesday.
The commission spent around Tk 1.5 million for using the EVM on trial at centre No. 141, EC officials had said. There are 193 polling centres in Rangpur.
Many of the EC officials are yet to take a look at the EVM and therefore oppose its usage on the field, according to some EC Secretariat officials.
Only the NID wing and one faction of the Election Commission are excited about using the EVM, they say.
“It is a technical matter. The technical team is examining. I still cannot confirm whether it will be used or not,” CEC Huda said in a query.
“We want to set the Rangpur city polls as an example. We will ensure that the voters return their home after casting their votes safely.”
More than 5,500 members of the law-enforcement agencies will be deployed on the spot. The executive magistrate, judicial magistrate and a monitoring team from the EC will supervise the process.
A total 211 candidates will contest for 33 posts of general ward councillors while 65 will fight for posts of councillors in 11 reserved wards.
The city has a total 393,894 voters with 196,256 males and 197,638 females.
A total 3,559 election officers will be on duty at the centres. Voting will be held from 8am until 4pm.
Jatiya Party (JaPa) leaders have described the polls in Rangpur, home to JaPa chief HM Ershad, as “an acid test” for the Election Commission.
They met CEC Nurul Huda at the EC offices on Wednesday.
“People are looking forward to the Rangpur City Corporation election. It is like an acid test for you. You will win peoples’ trust if you can successfully hold the election,” Opposition Chief Whip Tajul Islam said at the meeting.
The candidates from the Awami League, the BNP, and the Jatiya Party are the main contenders in the Rangpur mayor post.
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