Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ensure next city polls are unquestionable

Ensure next city polls are unquestionable

CEC asks agencies, hopes BNP participation in JS election

News Report The Election Commission Thursday armed the agencies concerned with strong orders to make sure the next city polls are not "questionable", as the two recent ones generated controversies and BNP scepticism over the upcoming general election. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda came up with the disclosure to the press on the directed issued at a preparatory meeting for the July 30th elections in three city corporations. He still holds the hope that the former ruling party, BNP, which had boycotted the last national election, would participate in the next general election. "Still, I hope BNP will participate in the next general election...we'll hold an inclusive election," he said, on a note of optimism, while talking to reporters at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city. The CEC noted that the next city polls are crucial as what is commonly dubbed 'litmus test' before the parliament election which is close by now. He said, "The atmosphere for holding the election is good and it'll remain so. Directives have already been given for taking proper steps so that city polls don't get questionable before the national election." Replying to a quarry about additional security measures during the upcoming city polls, he said, "There's no need for additional security, the relevant law has not been changed...measures will be taken according to the law." Earlier, the meeting over Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal city elections was held with the CEC in the chair. Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukdar, Md Rafiqul Islam, Brigadier General (ret) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury and Kabita Khanam were present. About BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia's participation in next polls, Huda said it is a matter of the court. "The court will look into the issue whether BNP Chairperson Begum Zia can take part in the next polls or not…We have nothing to do or say on this issue." The CEC said, "We have directed the law enforcers to maintain law and order in three cities' election areas. We have heard their suggestions and I hope that the three city corporation polls will be completed in a peaceful manner." He said there is no need to take additional preparations centering the three city polls. The polls will be held as per election procedure. Huda said, "We will do everything for the three city polls so that those cannot be questionable as these three polls will be held ahead of the general election." "The law-enforcement agencies informed us about the environment of the city- poll areas and they (law enforcers) hope that there is no risk or unstable situation in those areas," he added. Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukder, Md Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Brigadier-General (Retd) Shahdat Hossain, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed and the inspector-general (IG) of police, the director-general (DG) of RAB, divisional commissioners of Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal and the returning officers concerned were present at the meeting. As per schedule, voting for elections in the three cities will be held on July 30, after the holding of Khulna and Gazipur elections that created questions about fairness from different quarters, including the main opposition contestant BNP. (Inputs taken from BSS, UNB, media telecasts)

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