Don’t announce polls schedule until talks end: Oikya Front

The senior leaders of Jatiya Oikyafront on Monday urged the Election Commission (EC) not to announce the schedule for the next general election until the outcome of its Wednesday’s talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

An Oikyafront delegation, led by Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) president ASM Abdur Rob, made the call at a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, four other Commissioners and the EC secretary at Agargaon Nirbachon Bhaban.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Abdur Rob said they had discussions with the EC in a cordial manner based on their seven-point demand they placed before the Prime Minister during their talks with her on November 1.He said the Commission agreed to some issues they raised at the meeting while it could not give its final decision on some others, including deployment of army and the use of EVMs in the election.

“We requested them not to announce the election schedule before the outcome of our dialogue (with the Prime Minister) on November 7… it seems they may consider our request,” Rob said.He said the EC has assured them that it will ensure the security of polling agents during the election so that they can perform their duties boldly and safely inside every voting centre.

The JSD president said the Commission also told them that it will ensure so that the agents get the authorised result sheets at every centre after the vote counting. “They also assured us that no signature will be taken from the polling agents before the counting of votes.”He said they called upon the EC not to use EVMs in the election as most political parties and voters do not want it. “But, they (EC) couldn’t give us any final decision on it.”

Rob said they demanded deployment of army with the magistracy power so that they can arrest troublemakers and terrorists to ensure a fair election. “The CEC said he didn’t say the army won’t be deployed.”He said the CEC talked about the deployment of army as a striking force and they opposed it. “They (EC) heard it, but didn’t give any final decision on it.”

Later, briefing reporters, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the issue of army deployment will be discussed after the announcement of the election schedule.He said the Commission has preparations for announcing the schedule for the 11th parliamentary elections on Thursday. “The decision will be finalised at the EC meeting at 10am on that day.”

The other Oikyafront delegation members include BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Barkatullah Bulu, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna and Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya’s Sultan Muhammed Mansur Ahmed.

Earlier on Saturday, Dr Kamal Hossain, on behalf of the Oikyafront, sent a letter to the CEC requesting him not to announce the next general election schedule until the ongoing dialogue is over.However, the Election Commission on Sunday said it would announce the schedule for the next parliamentary election on November 8.The decision came at a meeting of the Commission with the CEC in the chair.

source: UNB