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Taking a swipe at the election commission and the government formed by the Bangladesh Awami League, Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik on Wednesday said election commissions under the incumbent government invent new forms of rigging in every election.

“Election commissions and the government are wonderful these days. Every time they resort to new means of cheating. They won uncontested in 2014. As they could not do the same in 2018, they completed voting in the night before the polls day. Journalist would reveal the cheating if they do the same in the city corporation elections. So they have devised a new method this time,” Shahdeen Malik said referring to the use of electronic voting machine (EVM) in the upcoming elections to two Dhaka city corporations.

He was speaking at a roundtable tiled ‘Rejection of EVMs around the world in conducting free and fair election and the Bangladesh experience’ at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Wednesday. Swadhinata Odhikar Andolon organised the programme.

Shahdeen Malik, also a trustee board member of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said majority of the people except the election commission and the government do not want EVM in city polls.

Referring to the upcoming 30 December city corporation polls as ‘election of millionaires’, the senior lawyer said, “Four mayoral candidates (of AL and BNP) are millionaires. Democracy nowadays has become millionaires’ democracy. Millionaires in Bangladesh don’t earn in honest means… we are heading towards an election to be rigged by millionaires.”

Professor ABM Obaidul Islam, chairman of physics department at Dhaka University, in his written speech pointed out various negative aspects of EVM.

He said, the data in EVM machine could be tempered beforehand.

Terming the election through EVMs as an effort to snatch people’s basic rights, the professor said, “Those who can conduct elections in midnight can also change the EVM software.”

Nagorik Oikya convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna said that the EC would set command of EVM machines in favour of their chosen candidate.

Gano Forum general secretary Reza Kibria said that people would witness a new method of vote rigging through EVMs.

The party’s executive president Subrata Chowdhury, who contested in the last parliamentary elections as Jatiya Oikya Front candidate from Dhaka-6 constituency, said that he is a victim of vote rigging through use of EVMs.

EVMs were used in that constituency in the 11th parliamentary polls.

Terming the government as ‘digital thief’, Subrata said the present government is very well versed in stealing.

Presided over by Swadhinata Odhikar Andolon president Kaji Moniruzzamn, Gono University teacher Bahauddin Samad and Sheikh Faridul Islam, among others, spoke at the roundtable.

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