Kazi habibul Awal, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), on Saturday stated that the commission will be working to suppress any irregularities during the Barisal City Corporation Elections.
The CEC made it clear that anyone found guilty of dishonesty or violating rules or regulations would be subject to severe punishment.
He called on citizens to be vigilant and report any irregularities to the presiding officers.
CEC Awal, as chief guest, spoke at a Barisal Shilpakala Academy exchange of views with candidates of the BCC elections.
The meeting was held from late afternoon until the early hours of the morning. 158 candidates for councilor, 7 candidates for mayor, journalists and officials attended.
During the meeting, candidates voiced various complaints and concerns, as well as expressing their hopes for a fair electoral process.
CEC Awal addressed the candidates and stated that, if found guilty, the commission will pursue legal action against those responsible.
Iqbal Hassain Tassain, mayoral candidate of the Jatiya Party, opposed it.
Tapos called for a reshuffle of administrative personnel and the deployment the army.
Mufti Faizul Karim was the mayoral candidate for the Islamic Movement Bangladesh. He expressed similar concerns and complaints. He also asked whether the Election Commission will resign should the elections not be conducted properly.
Responding to the mayoral candidate’s question, CEC said: “Before announcing the schedule, if you declare that you would not participate in polls using EVMs, then there was something that we could have done. But if you say this only a few days before the election, then it is not possible to attach printed ballots for voting.”
The CEC stated: “The number voters in Gazipur was 1.1 million. There were uneducated garment workers. The CEC said that none of the voters had studied Science, Physics, Chemistry or any other subject. However, they all voted using EVMs. Even the Gazipur candidate who lost the election did not complain and neither could the journalists.
“EVMs have been isolated, and you must open the ballot using your fingerprint. “If your fingerprint does not match, the digital ballot won’t be opened. If it matches, it will open automatically,” he said.
“Barisal City Corporation” is one third the size of Gazipur. The 126 polling stations will be equipped with CCTV cameras. Not only Barisal City Corporation, but also other city corporation elections in the country will also benefit from CCTV cameras,” said he.
The CEC said, “You may have doubts about our capability, but we do not want you to doubt our goodwill or sincerity.”
He said: “I’m not saying elections will be improved only by our efforts or those of law enforcement, but we should be doing the same.” It’s a coordinated effort.”
He told the candidates it was not necessary to complain against someone. They only had to present evidence to back up their complaint.
Amin Ul Ahsan Barisal divisional commissioner presided over the meetings.
The meeting was attended by special guests including Colonel Syed Rakibul Hasan (Project Director of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), Secretary of Election Commission Secretariat Jahangir Alam (Election Commissioner Brigadier general Ahsan Habib Khan Retd), Secretary Jahangir Alam (Election Commission Secretariat) and Brigadier general Ahsan Habib Khan.
The program was attended by the Deputy Commissioner and high-ranking officials from the Barisal district and metropolis administration, as well as the district and divisional administrators.