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Stand with rifles if someone stands with a sword: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Sunday urged the political parties to stay in the election field saying that the Commission will fail if all political parties don’t cooperate with it.

“You must have a concerted effort. If someone stands with a sword, you should stand with a rifle or another sword. If you run, what do I do? We will help. We’ll have command over the police and the government,” he said.

The CEC made the remarks at the meeting with a team of Nationalist Democratic Movement (NDM), which was held at the Nirbachan Bhaban here, opening the EC’s dialogues with registered political parties.

“We can’t stop the violence. You (political parties) also have to take responsibility. You are the players. You play on the field. We’re the referees. We’ve huge power. The power is not less. We’ll apply the power,” he said.

Habibul asked the people not to judge the existing commission by the performances of the last two general elections in 2014 and 2018. “We’ll take responsibility of the elections conducted by us. We will make every effort to make the election participatory and impartial. If all parties do not cooperate, we will fail there,” he said.

In response to CEC’s statement, NDM chairman Bobby Hajjaj said that the law doesn’t permit standing with shotguns. However, the CEC did not make any further comments in response.