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Ensure free, fair, credible polls

CEC asks DCs, SPs to act neutrally

Published : 08 Oct 2022 10:22 PM | Updated : 09 Oct 2022 12:15 PM

The Election Commission (EC) authorities on Saturday urged all the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) in the country to play impartial roles with professionalism to ensure free, fair and credible 12th parliamentary elections.  

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal talked to the DCs and SPs of 61 districts during a meeting on Saturday ahead of the Zila Parishad election and the next national polls.

After the meeting between the EC officials and DCs and SPs, Senior Secretary (Gender Protection Department) Akhtar Hossain of the Ministry of Home Affairs briefed the journalists.

To ensure that the 12th parliamentary polls become free, fair and peaceful, CEC Kazi Habibul Awal in his speech instructed all the DCs and SPs not to act on behalf of any party.

He also urged them to be "impartial" and perform their duties with "utmost professionalism" during polls.

The meeting, which began at 10am, was held at the commission's auditorium at Agargaon in   Dhaka. 

Addressing law enforcers and local administration officials, the CEC said, "You must be strictly aware of your responsibilities regarding the upcoming 12th general polls.”

"Under no circumstances should your actions and behaviour reflect anything that would lead people to think that you are siding with any particular political party."

"Exercise all necessary powers to maintain a favourable election environment by ensuring law and order at any cost. A free, fair and peaceful election process that upholds people's voting rights must be ensured”, he said. 

"You must perform your duties with the utmost professionalism and neutrality and achieve the desired work standard of the republic and uphold its ideals. Contribute to the implementation, practice and development of democracy from your own positions. The EC will be strict in carrying out its duties,” the CEC added.

He said, "In multi-party democracy of parliamentary system, there may be differences of opinion on various political matters. There are concerns surrounding the division between parties regarding the upcoming national elections.

"But we are hopeful that the goodwill, wisdom and discretion of all the parties concerned and the overall political leadership will resolve any crisis and doubt." 

The CEC said the next parliamentary elections will be held in a free, fair and peaceful environment. 

"There is also an ongoing debate regarding the use of EVM. We have evidence that using EVMs makes it easier to control electoral violence and vote rigging. Subject to availability, we have decided to use the machine in some 150 constituencies. 

"However, if necessary, we will have the preparation to hold polls using the technology in over 150 or all seats. Local administration and police should also have the capacity and readiness to maintain law and order," he added.

Kazi Habibul Awal said, "It should be remembered that the 12th national polls in the country must be completed on the same day, at the same time, in 42-45,000 polling stations. 

"The task, though not easy, is not impossible, and must be accomplished successfully through a collective effort."

Other election commissioners and top officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Additional IGP attended the meeting.

Zila Parishad polls are scheduled to be held on the 17th October this year. The next parliamentary election is slated for December 2023 or January 2024.

The commission has already unveiled its action plan for holding the 12th parliamentary polls.

Meanwhile, the DCs and SPs have proposed to reduce the number of polling centres in the National Parliament elections. They have proposed to increase the number of booths in each center if necessary. 

They made this proposal considering the deployment of sufficient number of law enforcement personnel at every centre. The Election Commission has assured them of  considering this proposal of field administration.

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