Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda yesterday said, as a state officials they were committed to the Constitution and not to any political party and person. He urged election officials to arrange the upazila polls in fully neutral manner. The CEC came up with the remarks while briefing the Returning Officers (RO) and Assistant Returning Officers in connection with the upazila elections in city’s Agargaon area on Thursday.
“Coordination is very important. The election officials in upazila and district levels, poling agents and law enforcement agencies will be there. Most important thing is the voter. And they are expecting free, fair and credible polls,” said the CEC.
He said, “You (the officials) have to remember that a fair and credible poll depends on your efficiency, expertise and neutrality,” he said, expressing hope that no official will have any bias and weakness to any party.
If the returning officials feel that the election situation is out of control, he or she will recommend to the commission the halting of polling. If the commission feels the recommendation by the returning officials is right, the EC will have the power to stop the election anytime.
Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar said democracy was never a one-party system. If there was no multi-party process, democracy would not get institutional shape. Therefore, it was important to hold participatory elections. However, participatory election is the absolutely primary achievement of the commission.
He said the first achievement of an election is to make it participatory. This time the upazila election has lost its nature. “However we can never accept a controversial or questionable election. We must ensure free and fair election,” he said. The election commission said the election had to be held in credible and acceptable manners. It was necessary to make people more confident about election management. It must be ensured. The election should be held in free and fair manner.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission yesterday announced schedule for the third phase of election to 127 upazila parishads. As per the schedule, the election will be held on March 24. while the last date for filing nomination papers is February 26. The nomination papers will be scrutinised till February 28 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 7.
EC Joint Secretary (Public Relations) SM Asaduzzaman announced the polls schedule at a press conference at the Nirbachan Bhaban in Agargaon of the capital Thursday afternoon. The election will be held in 127 upazila parishads under 25 districts of seven divisions. The districts are one each in Rajshahi, Rangpur and Mymansigh seven in Khulna, three in Barishal, eight in Dhaka and four in the Chattogram division. Earlier, on February 3, the Election Commission announced that the fifth upazila parishad polls would be held in five phases.
The election to 87 upazila parishads in 12 districts under Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi divisions will be held in the first phase on March 10.