CEC not sure about competitive polls

Staff Reporter :
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal has expressed the doubt about whether that the upcoming parliament will be held in a competitive manner or not.

The CEC said it cannot be certain at the moment that the election will be competitive.

“It needs to create a conducive climate for competitive polls through concerted efforts of all, including the election commission, candidates, and other stakeholders,” the CEC told the reporters on Wednesday, following a views-exchange meeting with candidates from six constituencies of Rajshahi district.

The meeting commenced at 10:00 am and continued until 12:30 pm. The CEC initially attempted to avoid the media waiting outside the venue, but eventually could not refuse repeated requests from reporters
Despite the uncertainty, the CEC expressed the hope that the election will be competitive and the voters will turn up at the polling centres.

Regarding his meeting with the candidates, he said the candidates reported some issues to the commission and the local administration.

“If the problems truly exist, we have taken responsibility to sort them out. They (the local administration) also promised their sincere efforts.”

Kazi Habibul Awal further said they instructed law enforcement agencies to take prompt actions in cases of flouting the electoral code of conduct and violence.

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All 39 candidates were invited to the views-exchange meeting through formal letters. However, some of them refrained from attending the programme.

Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana, Election Commission Secretary Jahangir Alam, Deputy Inspector General of Rajshahi Range Police Anisur Rahman, among others, were present.

Following the session with the authorities, some candidates faced the newsmen at the venue.

Rahenul Haque, an independent candidate from Rajshahi-6 constituency, alleged that the megaphones of his electoral campaign were vandalised, while his electoral office was put under lock and key. Also, there were incidents of intimidation and bomb attacks.

He particularly said a local chairman, who is loyal to him, received a threat from his rivals that they will not allow him to return home in sound health.

Rahenul, however, expressed optimism as the commission would instructthe law enforcement agencies to deal with these issues with an iron hand.

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