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2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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AL to focus on EVM issue in poll campaign

ABU JAKIR

The ruling Awami League (AL) will highlight the issue of electronic voting machines (EVMs) during its countrywide electoral campaign ahead of the upcoming general elections, scheduled to be held in the yearend. AL insiders said the party’s leaders and workers have already been asked to create awareness about EVMs among the country’s people ahead of the national polls. The party leaders will try to convince the people about the merits of using EVMs in the next polls and they will do this through their rallies, public meetings and workers’ meetings across the country, the insiders added.

Earlier, on May 7 last year, at a meeting with AL leaders at the party’s Dhanmondi office, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy had advised the AL’s central leaders to drum up public support in favour of the use of EVMs in the next

general elections. Joy, who is also the information and communication technology (ICT) adviser to the PM, had also asked the AL leaders to generate mass awareness on the advantages of EVMs to prevent the BNP from misleading people about the system.

Speaking on the EVM issue with this correspondent, AL presidium member Lt. Col. (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan yesterday (Saturday) said they are working on the issue, and would drum up public support in favour of the system.

“EVMs are a modern technology. AL is always in favour of modern tech. We will highlight the advantages of EVMs through our election campaign ahead of the upcoming national polls,” he said.

“We are in favour of using the system to hold the upcoming general elections in a free, fair and credible manner. That’s why we had recommended to the Election Commission (EC) the introduction of the system in the next polls,” he added.

However, the ruling AL leaders have already been speaking about EVMs at different party programmes. They say that EVMs are a modern system and the EC can use EVMs in the 11th parliamentary elections because of its multiple advantages. If the EC introduces EVMs, elections will be free and fair, elections results can be announced rapidly, and even the BNP would not be able to raise allegations of rigging or snatching of ballot boxes, they said.

Meanwhile, the party leaders believe that the use of EVMs in the next polls will minimise the post-poll allegations of vote rigging or snatching of ballot boxes, stuffing of ballot boxes and other irregularities.

“The BNP will seek to fish in troubled waters during the elections, but if the EC can use EVMs in the next polls, the BNP won’t be able to raise allegations of vote rigging or snatching of ballot boxes after they face a debacle in the polls,” said AL general secretary Obaidul Quader.

AL organising secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the ruling party wants the use of EVMs in the next polls just because it wants the polls to be free and fair, and for no other reason.

“During the talks with the EC, we had called upon it to make preparations to use EVMs in the next polls for the sake of its credibility. We hail the EC for its wise decision to use EVMs in the polls,” he said. Meanwhile, with only a few months left before the national elections, the EC is planning to use EVMs in the polls amid opposition from different political parties, including the BNP.

“Preparations are going on to introduce electronic voting machines in 100 electoral constituencies,” EC secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed had told media-persons. In the commission’s electoral dialogues last year, the ruling AL had called upon the EC to make preparations on using EVMs in the next polls. However, 35 of the 40 registered parties, including the BNP and its allies, opposed the idea of using EVMs in the next polls.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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