Wednesday, November 22, 2017

BNP sees 'ulterior motive' behind government's move to introducing EVMs

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-02-16 17:17:18 BdST

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi (File Photo)

The BNP sees 'ulterior motive' behind the prime minister's statement of introducing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next Parliamentary elections.

At a media briefing on Thursday, senior leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called it a ploy. "It's another magic (trick) of the prime minister to shift the people's attention from the CEC (chief election commissioner)."

Addressing the House on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the plan to introduce EVMs could be taken into consideration "in order to further ensure the people's voting right in accordance with all existing laws for free, fair and impartial elections."

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Rizvi reacted sharply.

"There's no doubt an ulterior motive behind introducing E-voting in the next national polls. We believe it to be a trick of the prime minister.

"The people will stop any conspiracy by the ruling party over the next elections," he said on Thursday.

The ruling Awami League proposed the introduction of E-voting during talks on forming the new Election Commission with President Md Abdul Hamid on Jan 11. The Awami League leaders later explained they referred to the use of EVMs as E-voting.

The BNP has criticised the proposal, saying the use of EVMs would open gates to 'digital corruption'.

The use of EVMs will make the casting and counting of votes faster and cheaper.

The EC headed by ATM Shamsul Huda used EVMs in some local government elections for the first time in 2010 and prepared the machines for the 2014 parliamentary election before leaving office in 2012.

The last commission of Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, however, discarded the machines amidst complexities over their use and the BNP's opposition.

The KM Nurul Huda-led commission has taken the oath of office but has yet to start work.

BNP leader Rizvi said that no one believes that Huda will be able to fulfil the people's will as the CEC.

"Who is he? An officer of the 1973 batch of the Bangladesh Civil Service and that specific batch has a nickname; it's Tofail Service," he said referring to senior Awami League leader and Cabinet member Tofail Ahmed.

"That means they did not have to go through any tests and were appointed by  recommendations ... The man who has been made the CEC is Awami League's own man," added the senior BNP leader.