The Election Commission (EC) has completed all preparations for the National Assembly elections. Now the commission is busy with details. In the meantime the assent of the President has been taken regarding the declaration of schedule. The polling date will be announced any day after formal approval by the meeting. It is expected that the details of the national elections will be announced next Tuesday or Wednesday. In that case, the commission may take a final decision on the meeting on Sunday. This information is known from multiple sources of EC.
According to sources, this time the schedule approval and announcement may be on the same day. That is, on the day the commission meeting will be held, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) will record the statement and the details will be announced through the speech given to the nation on Bangladesh Television and Radio on the same day evening. Now CEC along with other commissioners are busy preparing CEC’s speech and informal discussions among themselves.
The ruling Awami League is stubborn in the elections under the current government. On the other hand, the anti-government BNP and their allies are on the ground with programs like hartals and blockades demanding the government’s resignation and elections under a non-partisan government. The Election Commission has completed all the preparations for the election in the opposite position of the country’s two major political parties and alliances. President Md. Bangabhaban last Thursday. Habibul Awal Commission met with Sahabuddin and highlighted the overall preparation of the election. At this time, the President expressed his satisfaction with the overall preparation of the 12th National Election and advised the EC to declare the details and carry out its duties with courage. Now just waiting for the schedule to be announced and all the work done accordingly.
In this regard, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said, “We are determined to hold the election on time.” Details will be announced soon. Choose at any cost. He urged the DC-SPs to perform their duties impartially in the elections.
EC officials say that due to constitutional obligations, the commission must hold elections within 90 days before January 29, 2024. The countdown to the 12th National Assembly elections has also started from November 1. There is not much time left for the EC to announce the schedule. In this situation, there is still no possibility of any kind of compromise between the two major political parties of the country regarding the upcoming national elections, but in the end, the Awal Commission is going to walk on the path shown in the constitution. In that case, even if no party comes to the election, they have nothing to do. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal and other commissioners have already clarified the constitutional duty.
Recently, in the dialogue with the political parties, the CEC itself commented that although the current situation is not completely favorable for the elections, there is nothing to be done. Pointing out that the commission does not have the capacity and mandate to solve the ongoing political crisis, he said that the parties should discuss among themselves and create a favorable environment to resolve the crisis. Election conditions are not always 100% favourable. However, due to constitutional duty and oath, the commission has to conduct the polls.
Earlier, Election Commissioner. Alamgir said that according to the constitution, the election should be held by January 29 next year anyway. Otherwise, a constitutional gap will be created. If the gap is created, then there will be anarchy in the country. The Commission cannot allow that to happen.
The voter list has already been updated in preparation for the polls. Currently the number of voters in the country is 11 crore 96 lakh 91 thousand 633 people. Several reforms have been made in the legal framework for the smooth conduct of elections. The re-arrangement of parliamentary seats is over. The registration of the new party is also over. The draft list of polling stations has been published. This time the number of polling stations is 42 thousand 103. And the number of polling booths is 2 lakh 61 thousand 914. Audit of registered political parties completed. Other work, including training of poll-related officials, is underway.
After the announcement of the schedule, the final list of polling stations, the preparation of constituencies-wise voter list CDs and the training program of the polling officers are in progress. The initial phase of observer registration has been completed ahead of the national elections. The second phase is in the process of registering some more observer organizations. The foreign observer policy has also been finalized. Journalist guidelines have also been amended to allow motorcycles in news gathering. Last November 4 through a dialogue the registered political parties were invited and the EC’s latest preparations for organizing the national elections were presented through a projector.
More than 9 lakh public and private officials will be on election duty this time. Purchase of electoral equipment, allowances of officials performing various duties and allowances of members of law and order forces will cost about 1600 crore rupees. Apart from this, election training will cost more than 100 crore rupees.
In the last 11th parliamentary election, a total of 6 lakh 8 thousand members were engaged in maintaining law and order, including members of the armed forces. Members of the armed forces, police, RAB, BGB, Coast Guard and Ansar were responsible for maintaining law and order during the election. Police and Ansar members live in polling stations. Police, RAB, BGB, Coast Guard mobile and striking force are outside the polling station. However, despite the demands of some political parties in the dialogue, whether the armed forces will be deployed or not has not been decided yet.
In order to avoid any complications in the submission of nomination papers of the candidates, the system of submission of nomination papers is being kept online. Also, there is an opportunity to pay the security deposit online through e-banking. The commission has developed an app called ‘Bangladesh Election App’ to reduce the hassle of finding polling station names and voter numbers. It will be officially inaugurated today (Sunday). In addition to voter information, the identity and phone numbers of important officials engaged in election work including Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officer, Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police (SP) and Officer-in-Charge of Police Station (OC) will be provided in this app.
When asked about the schedule and the overall preparation for the polls, EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath told Daily Kalbela, “We are almost 100 percent ready for the elections.” Meanwhile, election equipment has reached various districts. The schedule may be announced any day this week. All kinds of preparations are going on for that purpose.