Dhaka, Apr 17 (UNB) – BNP on Tuesday demanded deployment of army seven days before the elections to Khulna and Gazipur city corporations billed for May 15.
The party also sought immediate withdrawal of Gazipur Police Superintendent (SP) Harun-ur-Rashid and other partisan officials in the police and the administration for the sake of a credible voting.
A six-member BNP delegation placed the six-point demand at a meeting with Election Commission at Nirbachan Bhaban.
The BNP team also opposed any kind of use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the two city polls.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and other Election Commissioners were present at the meeting.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain led the BNP team at the meeting.
The other members of the delegation were party stranding committee members Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, and vice-chairman Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mosharraf said they held the meeting with the Commission ahead of the two city polls.
He said their party wants the deployment of army to restore voters’ confidence that they will be able to exercise their right to franchise.
The BNP leader said they opposed the use of EVM in the polls as it is a questionable process.
He said they urged the Commission to take step so that the Prime Minister and the ministers cannot seek votes for boat in any part of the country unless the city polls are held.
Replying to a question, the BNP leader said their chairperson Khaleda Zia should be freed for holding a fair, credible and inclusive national election.
Justifying their party’s demand for pulling out Gazipur SP Harun-ur-Rashid, Mosharraf said the EC withdrew him earlier in 2016 for taking position in favour of a particular party candidate during Union Parishad polls.
He said the two city polls are very important as those will send out a message about whether the next election will be free and fair or not.
The BNP leader claimed that the Commission assured them of considering their demands as it thinks those are logical.
The party’s other demands include cancelling coordination committees formed under the divisional commissioners, barring law enforcers from performing duties without uniforms, not appointing presiding officers and assistant presiding officers in their own thanas, stopping arrest and harassment of political leaders and activists, and ensuring their release from jail, creating a level-playing field for all candidates and ensuring uninterrupted news collection by journalists.