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AL keen on use of EVMs to manipulate next elections: BNP

BNP senior leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku talks to reporters on the grave premises of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman in the capital on Wednesday.

BNP senior leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku on Wednesday said Awami League (AL) is keen on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general election to implement its new manipulation plan.

“We believed them (AL) once earlier and joined the election under them. But they completed the day’s voting at night,” he said.

The BNP leader said the ruling party is now seeking the use of EVMs in the polls so that they need not steal votes at night again. “They’ll do it this time by pressing the EVM buttons sitting in the polling stations.”

Talking to reporters on the grave premises of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman in the capital, Tuku said their party will no longer participate in mockery in the name of election.

Earlier, he along with the leaders of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal placed a wreath at Zia’s grave, marking the formation of an eight-member partial committee of the BNP’s youth wing.

Tuku, a BNP standing committee member, said their party will not go to the polls until a neutral government is established.

As a democratic party, he said BNP wants the election to be held in a democratic atmosphere.

The BNP leader recalled that then prime minister Khaleda Zia accepted defeat after she had resigned by forming a caretaker government in 1996. “That’s called democracy.”

He urged the Awami League government to arrange the next election under a non-party neutral administration if it has that courage like Khaleda Zia.

“If we lose in such an election, we will accept it. We want to see fair play,” the BNP leader said.

Sought his comment on the Election Commission’s (EC’s) proposal on holding the national election in four days, Tuku said it will not be acceptable in Bangladesh.

“Since the birth of Bangladesh, the election has been held in one day. I don’t know whether or not the (Chief Election Commissioner) is a hybrid one. I don’t know why he wants to do it in four days,” Tuku said.

If the election is held in four days, he said the election results will be kept at the offices of the deputy commissioners (DCs) whom people do not trust. “So, it won’t happen in Bangladesh.”

As his attention was drawn to AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader’s remark that BNP will finally join polls, Tuku said, “I have doubts whether the people of Bangladesh value Obaidul Quader’s words…there’s no reason for us to join the election as per Obaidul Quader’s expectation. They don’t even have a good record to encourage us to go to polls under them.”