BNP asks EC not to use EVMs in polls

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Dhaka :  BNP on Monday submitted a letter to the Election Commission (EC) urging it not to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in parliamentary elections.

A three-member BNP delegation, led by its standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, went to the Election Commission in the afternoon, and handed over the letter to Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, reports UNB.

Two other members of the delegation are the party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and BNP Chairperson’s adviser Sujauddin Ahmed.

Talking to reporters after nearly an hour-long meeting with the CEC, Nazrul said, ‘We’ve told the CEC that we don’t want EVMs to be used (in the national election).’

Mentioning that many countries across the world are abandoning EVM, the BNP leader said their party thinks the move to introduce it in Bangladesh is a motivated one. ‘There might have any evil attention behind the move. There’s also apprehension of digital rigging of votes if the EVM is used.’

Nazrul Islam said the CEC told them that as EVM is a new system they will take decision about its use after necessary assessment and discussions. ‘The Commission said they won’t use the EVMs if anyone opposes it. So far, what we’ve realised that there’s no possibility of using EVM in the next election.’

The BNP standing committee member said the EC has the scope to amend the Representation of the People Order (RPO) for conducting a fair and acceptable election.

He said the CEC informed them that the Commission will print a book on the proposed legal reforms and subsequently send it to all stakeholders, including political parties, seeking their opinions.

Nazrul also said their party will definitely join the dialogue with EC on the reformation of the electoral law. ‘We want to join the election as well as talks. That’s why we want a congenial atmosphere.’

Earlier on May 11, CEC KM Nurul Huda said the EVM will be used in the next parliamentary polls if all the political parties unanimously accept it. ‘If it’s accepted unanimously, we’ll consider the use of the machines,’ he said.

Some 3 lakh machines will be required for holding the election based entirely on EVMs, the CEC said.

The Election Commission led by Dr ATM Shamsul Huda first used EVMs on pilot basis in few polling stations in Chittagong City Corporation polls held in 2010. Later, the electronic machines were used in different local body elections.

In January, 2011, Comilla City Corporation Election was held fully based on the EVMs.

In 2012, the Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad-led Commission decided not to use EVMs in elections due to strong oppositions by a number of political parties, including BNP.

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