Bnp wants army posted for city polls, decision later: CEC

A BNP delegation on Wednesday demanded army deployment during the elections to Dhaka south and Dhaka north and Chittagong city corporations to maintain law and order.
“We demanded deployment of army in the three city corporations’ polls in he interest of maintaining law and order and ensure a free, fair and credible elections,” BNP standing committee members ASM Hannah Shah told reporters after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad.In reply, he said the CEC told them that they will take decision about it at their meeting to be held on April 19.
A seven-member BNP team, led by its standing committee members Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar and ASM Hannah Shah, sat in the meeting at the CEC’s office around 3:15 pm.
The other members of the delegation are BNP chairperson’s advisers Mushfiqur Rahman, Abdul Halim, Syed Sujaddin Ahmed, former secretary Abdur Rashid and former joint secretary Abdus Sattar.
Emerging from the nearly one-hour meeting, Hannan Sahah said though city polls are non-partisan in nature, every party has the participation in it. “So, we’ve told the Commission to take measures to reopen our all closed party offices, including Madam’s (Khaleda’s) Gulshan and BNP’s Nayapaltan central offies.”
He also said they requested the CEC to take measures to stop police harassment on opposition leaders and activists so that all the candidates can freely and safely carry out electioneering.
Mentioning that many criminal cases were lodged with political motive against opposition leaders and activists and unidentified people, Hannan Shah said they asked the Commission to take steps so that police cannot arrest anyone involved with the polls taking advantage of the list of unidentified accused.
The BNP leader said they also told the CEC to take immediate action if any allegation of polls manipulation is found.
The BNP-delegation also urged the commission not to engage partisan, biased and controversial officials with the election process and make public before the polls the list of the officials to be involved in conducting the voting.
Asked what the CEC told them, Hannan Shah said the ECE assured them of taking proper measures to hold a fair election. “The CEC’s statements have given an impression that he will take steps for ensuring fair polls.”
About the cancellation of BNP-backed mayoral aspirant Abdul Awal Mintoo’s nomination for Dhaka North City Corporation, Hannan Shah said nominations of Mintoo and some other candidates were not accepted for some clerical and printing mistakes. “We requested the CEC to accept the nominations with correction of those mistakes.”
“He (CE) has assured us of especially considering it if the candidates appeal against the cancellation of their nominations within the due time in the interest of a credible election,” the BNP leader added.
Asked who will get BNP’s support if Mintoo’s nomination is not filially accepted, Hannan Shah said, “Dear friends, wait and see.”
Jamiruddin Sircar said they told the CEC that the commission can ask the government to take all necessary measures to ensure a fair election. “We told the CEC you can seek army, and the government is bound to carry out your order.”
EC Sirazul Islam was also there at the meeting. – UNB