Strongly opposing the Election Commission's move to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next general election, BNP yesterday claimed that Awami League is now “depending on machine, after losing confidence in people”.
Speaking at a press conference, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir warned that the Election Commission (EC) will have to pay a heavy price if it does not revoke its plan to use the EVMs, which will only create a scope for “digital vote rigging”.
“People won't accept the conspiracy of looting their money in the name of procuring EVMs with an evil motive. Once again, we ask the EC to immediately rescind its move to buy EVMs,” he said.
Otherwise, the BNP leader said, people's lack of confidence in the EC will further deepen, and the Commission will be held responsible for any untoward situation.
BNP arranged the press conference at its chairperson's Gulshan office to disclose the party's formal reaction to the EC's plan to use EVMs at 100 constituencies (around 15,000 polling centres) in the upcoming general election.
Fakhrul presented various examples and logics defending the party's stance against the EVM use as it can be manipulated.
Mentioning that Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda assured people of not using the EVM after he had taken charge of the Commission, he questioned what prompted the Commission to hurriedly procure 1.5 lakh EVMs spending Tk 4,000 crore.
The BNP leader said the election results can be manipulated through the EVMs while five votes can be given with one click.
He urged the Election Commission to engage in talks with all the stakeholders and take steps for ensuring fair voting through the customary ballot paper system.
Fakhrul also presented 11 proposals for taking necessary steps for a credible election.
The proposals include, installing closed-circuit cameras at 44,000 polling stations, developing the infrastructure of the educational institutions to be used as voting centres, providing upazila election officers with necessary transport facilities, setting up a modern printing press for printing ballot papers, enhancing the capacity of officers involved with the election process, providing all the upazila election offices with video cameras, initiating a “voter education and awareness programme” and ensuring sufficient honorarium for election officials, Ansar-VDP and village police members.