BNP seeks army with magistracy powers for polls

The BNP on Wednesday sent a letter to the Election Commission demanding amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) to include the armed forces in the definition of law keepers.Although the party stayed away from the dialogue initiated by the Commission, it has sought deployment of army with judicial powers in the upcoming national elections.
“Army will have to be deployed in the next [national] elections. We have proposed amendment to the definition of law keepers in the RPO,” party’s Joint Secretary General Salauddin Ahmed said after sending the letter of its Acting Secretary General to the EC.
“The army will have to be deployed with magistracy power,” he said.
The Election Commission has already prepared a draft to make certain changes to the RPO. The opposition BNP and several like-minded parties did not take part in a dialogue with the EC last year over delimitation of some constituencies.
On Feb 6, the Election Commission published the draft on the delimitation of constituencies for the 10th parliamentary elections.
Salauddin alleged delimitation of the 87 parliamentary constituencies, out of 300, were done according to the whims of the ruling Awami League.
He said they had proposed that the Commission take four factors into account while redefining area of any constituency: geographical and administrative issues, number of voters and composition of population of the area concerned.
The Joint Secretary General alleged the recent voter list update was also politically influenced which left out 500,000 voters.
“We had objections on the current EC and we still have. This Commission is a puppet of the government. No free and fair election can be held under it,” Salauddin said.
Election Commissioner Abdul Mobarak confirmed receipt of a letter signed by Mirza Fakhrul but said the letter did not specifically mention any constituencies.
“We’ll look into it politically since it came to us politically,” he said.

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