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Fair city elections without deploying army is possible: Suranjit

48Senior Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta says there is no need to call out army to ensure free and fair city corporation elections as demanded by the BNP.

He said the previous city polls were overseen impartially and BNP-endorsed candidates had won those during Awami League’s tenure.

“They (the BNP) demand army deployment but why should we agree?” he asked at a programme in Dhaka on Friday.

The army, he said, was the country’s last line of defence to protect independence and sovereignty.

Sengupta said, “The army was not needed in the previous city polls, which were free and fair.”

He wondered why the BNP was making this demand.

“About their demand, I said it is up to the government, not the Election Commission, to decide whether or not to deploy army in the polls.”

Elections to the three city corporations in Dhaka and Chittagong are slated for Apr 28.

Sengupta said the ruling party would accept the EC’s decision on the polls.

“There will certainly be a level playing field, but you (Khaleda Zia) are the main obstacle,” he said addressing the BNP chief who faces arrest in two corruption cases.

He said the Awami League would work for party-endorsed candidates.

“The Awami League is being galvanised ahead of the polls,” Sengupta said. “We’ve formed election committees and will approach the people.”

“This time, the poll planks will be peace and people’s rights,” he said.