Dhaka, Dec 28 (UNB) – More than 26,000 election observers, including 163 from foreign organisations and missions, will monitor the 11th general election slated for Sunday.
In addition, a total of 25,900 observers from 81 local organisations will also monitor the elections, according to a fact sheet of the Election Commission.
Among 163 observers from foreign organisations and missions, 38 foreign nationals are from different international organisations including FAMBoSA, AAEA, OIC and Commonwealth, 64 from diplomatic or foreign missions and 61 Bangladeshi nationals from foreign organisations, missions and High Commissions stationed in Bangladesh.
This time the number of observers is lesser than that of the year 2008, which was held amid participation of all major political parties.
More than 1.5 lakh local and 600 foreign observers monitored the 2008 general election, while over 2 lakh local and 225 foreign observers monitored the 2001 general elections.
Dhaka, Dec 28 (UNB) – Voters will be allowed to carry mobile phones inside polling stations, but those will have to kept switched off, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said on Friday.
“Though mobile phones can be carried inside polling centres, those can’t be used. Mobile phones will have keep switched off,” he told reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban.
No one other than the presiding officers and the police officers will be permitted to use mobile phones inside the election centres, the EC Secretary said.
He said no unauthorised motorised vehicle will be allowed to ply on the street on the election day.
However, the vehicles of law enforcers, government services and fire service, ambulances and newspaper-carrying vehicles will remain out of the purview of the restriction, Helal said.
He said there is no apprehension about the election. “The election will be held in a peaceful manner.”
EC Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman said the presiding officers will hand over result sheets to candidates’ agents after counting votes in the polling stations.
At the Nirbachan Bhaban, election results of different constituencies will be displayed through 10 projectors, he said.
Mokhlesur also said carrying national identity card to polling stations is not mandatory for voters to cast their votes through electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the six designated constituencies.
He said voters can know about their voting areas and polling stations through sending SMS from Saturday morning.
Khagrachhari, Dec 28 (UNB) – Election materials, including translucent ballot boxes and ballot papers, and election officials were airlifted to two remote and inaccessible polling centres in Laxmichhari upazila on Friday.
A Bangladesh Army helicopter was used to send the election materials and officials, including presiding officers and assistant presiding officers, to Shuknachhari Govt Primary School and Kutyachhari Govt Primary School centres.
With this, the polls items and election officials were airlifted to a total of three remote and inaccessible polling centres in the district.
Earlier on Thursday, those were sent to a centre of Naraichhari in Dighinala upazila with a helicopter.
Dhaka, Dec 28 (UNB) – BNP on Friday alleged that Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda is not allowing Armed Forces to work independently.
“Law enforcers and ruling party cadres obstructed the processions of Sheaf of Paddy at different parts of the country yesterday (Thursday). They’re forcing BNP candidates’ agents and their supporters to leave their areas. A scary situation has been prevailing everywhere as armed Awami League cadres are staging showdown at every village,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at party’s Nayapaltan central office, he further said, “The Chief Election Commissioner has tied up the army after rolling them out in the field. They’re not allowed to work independently. Everything is happening under the supervision of the Chief Election Commissioner at the behest of the Prime Minister.”
Reacting to Thursday’s remarks of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that BNP is planning to unleash acts of sabotage sensing its defeat in the election, Rizvi said, “Awami League has its own training centre for anarchy. The ruling party and the government are the safe haven of terrorism.”
He asked Sheikh Hasina as to who attacked the motorcade of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and party leaders, including Moudud Ahmed, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Afroza Abbas, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee, Romana Mahmud, Habibur Rahman Habib and others. “BNP leaders and activists are being driven off their houses through arbitrary arrests. The nation wants to know from you (PM) who committed these.”
The BNP leader, however, said there will be a vote revolution on Sunday even after all this.
He alleged that law enforcers and Awami League ‘cadres’ vandalised the houses of BNP leaders and activists across the country in the name of drives, and arrested huge party men.
Rizvi claimed that some 10,329 BNP were arrested, 844 ‘fictitious and false’ cases filed and 2,896 attacks carried out, 13,252 injured and nine party men were killed till Thursday since the announcement of the election schedule.
He also said 38 ‘false’ cases were filed since Thursday and 1,127 BNP men were arrested during the period.
Dhaka, Dec 28 (UNB) – Dhaka City police assured voters on Friday that there would be no trouble during Sunday’s national election.
“Tight security measures have been taken to provide a safe atmosphere for the voters,” Md Asaduzzaman Mia, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner, told reporters.
“They can come to the polling centres without fear [of violence] and go back home safely,” he said after visiting Willes Little Flower School voting centre in Kakrail in the afternoon.
He said there would be adequate security arrangement for voters at 2,133 polling centres and agents of the candidates would get police protection.
“Check posts will be set up at key points and mobile teams will remain alert. Four control rooms have been set up in Gulshan, Rajarbagh Police Lines, Abdul Gani Road and Mirpur to monitor the overall situation on the day,” Asaduzzaman said.
Exception for commuters, ambulances
There is a ban on the movement of vehicles from Saturday midnight to Sunday midnight. Only designated vehicles will be allowed on the streets during this period.
However, passengers, travelling to local and international destinations, can use vehicles to go to train stations, launch terminals and airports. But they must carry necessary travel documents and produce them during checks.
Ambulances carrying serious patients will not be barred, the police officer said. The traffic department has been directed to take necessary steps.
“The vehicles will be checked,” the DMP chief said. “The measures are to ensure that no one can create disorder and disrupt balloting.”