BNP on Wednesday turned down the Election Commission’s (EC’s) decision to use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in up to 150 seats in the next general election, saying the move was taken as per the government’s desire to help it retain power.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also renewed their demand that the next polls must be held through traditional ballots under a non-partisan government to be conducted by a fresh EC.
“We don’t have any interest in the current Election Commission. We also don't care what they say and do. The main thing is that if there is no change in the government during the polls-time, no Election Commission can hold a credible election,” Fakhrul said.
Fakhrul also said this decision of the EC has proved that it has become an associate body of the ruling party. “Because, they (AL) sought the use of EVMs in 300 seats, but the EC fixed it in 150 ones through a compromise.
In the dialogues with the EC, he said most of the political parties, even the Jatiya Party, told the Commission that they do not want the EVMs to be used as people’s verdict will not be reflected through the machines.
“Despite opposition from political parties, the current ‘illegal’ Election Commission has taken the decision to use the EVM only to fulfill the government’s desire and to give their (govts’) target of forming the government again a final shape. People will never accept it and neither will we. We completely turn down it.”
He said their party’s position is clear that no election can be held in Bangladesh without a polls-time neutral caretaker government. “The current government must quit immediately for not only their economic failure, but also for political failures of creating a one-party ruling system, and then hand over power to a neutral government dissolving parliament.”
Later, he said a new Election Commission will have to be formed to arrange a credible, acceptable and inclusive election. “The voting in that election will be done completely through ballots.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the EC decided to use the EVMs instead of traditional ballot papers in the maximum 150 constituencies out of 300 ones in the next general election likely to be held late next year.
The decision came from a meeting of the election agency on Tuesday with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal in the chair at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city’s Agargaon area.
BNP’s press conference was arranged after a joint meeting of the party and its associate bodies on the occasion of the party’s 441st founding anniversary on September 1.
Fakhrul also announced a two-day programme, including a rally and discussion, to celebrate the founding anniversary.
At the meeting, the leaders of the party and its associate bodies were instructed to make all programmes, including a colourful rally at Nayapaltan, on September 1, a success.
On September 1, 1978, Ziaur Rahman formed BNP with a 19-point programme to build a self-reliant Bangladesh. BNP ruled the country for several terms.
Fakhrul said BNP was actually born at a historical moment for the need of history. “When all the other political parties of Bangladesh failed to deliver and unite the country’s people, BNP was founded by martyred President Ziaur Rahman with a new light of hope for people. “
Stating that BNP has been staying in politics for 44 years through many ups and downs, he said many plots were hatched to destroy BNP since the assassination of Ziaur Rahman on May 30, 1981, Fakhrul said the party has risen like the phoenix under the leadership of Begum Khaleda Zia. “She brought this party to power thrice under her competent leadership. “It’s unfortunate that our leader has now been kept under house arrest.”
Accusing the government of destroying democracy and snatching people’s rights, he said people want BNP to restore democracy and their rights through a movement.