Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Thursday urged all political parties to take part in the upcoming elections for continuity of the country’s democratic polity and development as he announced the polls schedule pledging to ensure level playing field for all.
“Strict directives will be issued to the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the voters, political leaders, workers, candidates, their (candidates) supporters and polling agents are not subjected to harassment and do not face cases without any reason,” he said.
Huda said the primary procedure to employ around 700,000 officials of different categories was completed by now for conducting the elections.
“Executive and judicial magistrates have been appointed for every constituency. Around 600,000 members of law enforcement agencies, including police, BGB, RAB, Coast Guard, Ansar and Village Defence Party, will be deployed centering the ensuing polls,” he said.
Nurul Huda said armed forces would also be deployed “In Aide of Civil Power” to maintain order during the polls.
The CEC said the commission was constitutionally obligated to hold the 11th parliamentary elections within 28 January 2019.
“The countdown of the national election has already begun and the works of buying polls materials and printing have been completed,” Huda said.
He said election related issues were discussed at the inter-ministerial meetings and the officials of the election commission have devoted themselves to the electoral duties.
The CEC said the political parties began their preparations ahead of the general elections while the civil society members and political commentators were expressing their opinions as well.
“Different media are publishing different articles, opinions and recommendations on election while TV channels are arranging talk shows centering the polls,” he added.
Huda said senior political leaders held dialogues with the prime minister for holding a participatory and fair election while many organisations from home and abroad are expressing their interests to observe the polls.
“Congenial atmosphere has been created across the country for holding the upcoming parliamentary elections,” he said.
The election commission chief expected the candidates and their supporters to comply with electoral laws and code of conduct and “every voter will cast vote in favour of their chosen candidate freely”.
“The executive and judicial magistrates will ensure the enforcement of law and the law enforcers will ensure the security of the voting centers, voters, candidates, polling officials and agents,” he said.
Huda hoped that the observers will perform their duties by maintaining the rules of the election commission. The election commission secretariat will monitor overall situation.
Urging the political parties to reduce conflicts and complexities of diverse opinions politically, Huda said the parliament election creates the opportunities for establishing the ownership rights of the common people and creating room for forming a new government.
He expressed the hope that the election would be held in a contesting mode and a participatory manner with participation of all political parties.
The CEC said the commission is giving importance on using technology in election management. The candidates can submit their nomination forms by hand or through online, he added.
He said an initiative has been taken to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) on a limited scale along with old system in the national elections.
“We believe that the use of EVMs will bring about a qualitative change in elections and it will save time, money and reduce works,” said Nurul Huda.