Different political parties fear that the Election Commission has taken the move to use electronic voting machines in the next general election at the eleventh hour as part of a government conspiracy to ensure the ruling Awami League’s win through ‘digital rigging’.
They said on Wednesday that the electronic voting system was faulty and not trustworthy and the commission initiated the move ignoring opinion of the most political parties.
In the commission’s electoral dialogue with the political parties in 2017, 35 of the 40 registered parties, including the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, asked the commission not to use EVMs in the next general election.
The rest five parties – Awami League, its allies Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction led by Hasanul Haq Inu and Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (M-L) and Zaker Party – supported the use of EVMs.
At a discussion organised by Swadhinata Forum at the National Press Club on Wednesday BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain alleged that the commission’s hurried move to use EVMs was ‘political’ and ‘ill-motivated’ for manipulating elections.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim told New Age that the move would pave a way of ‘digital rigging’ and the commission was working to implement Awami League’s blueprint.
He said that a section of people would embezzle huge money in the procurement of EVMs.
He said that CPB would protest against the move politically.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh president Khaliquzzaman said that use of EVMs would make a safe way for the Awami League for election manipulation.
He urged the commission to stop the move immediately and warned that the political parties would reject the move.
Revolutionary Workers’ Party of Bangladesh general secretary Saiful Haque said that the move was suspicious and the commission was working to implement the Awami League’s agenda.
He said that his party would not accept the move.
Khelafat Majlish chairman Muhammad Ishaq said that the commission’s was cheating the people by the move to use EVMs in the next parliamentary elections.
He said that his party along with the BNP-led alliance would stage protests against the move as his party was in the alliance.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of the month-long commemoration programmes at Institution of Engineers Bangladesh, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, however, said that the party would support using EVMs in the next general election likely to be held in December.
Quader, also the road transport and bridges minster, said that his party was
in favour of using EVM in the next polls as it was modern and sophisticated system and used in different countries.
On Tuesday the Election Commission secretary Hellaluddin Ahmed said that the commission was planning to use EVM in 100 of the 300 territorial parliamentary constituencies in the upcoming general election if everything went well including legal reform and positive opinion of political parties.
The latest move came after the commission recently initiated a move to procure 1.5 lakh EVMs at an estimated cost of Tk 3,821 crore, commission officials said.
According to commission officials, the commission will sit today to finalise its proposal for amendment to the Representation of the People Order 1972 to make provisions for the use of EVM in the general polls.
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