Workers Party wants 3 key ministries under EC during polls

It also thinks polls should be held under current govt

11 Oct 2017, 13:10 | updated: 11 Oct 2017, 18:17

NTV Online

Dhaka: Workers Party of Bangladesh on Wednesday proposed bringing three key ministries -- Home, Public Administration and Local Government -- under the authority of the Election Commission (EC) during the next general election.

The party also suggested holding the next general election under the incumbent government and deploying defence forces as striking ones if needed.

The leftist party placed the proposals joining the EC dialogue began at 11:00 am in the city's Nirbachan Bhaban with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair.

A 15-member Workers Party delegation, led by its chief and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, placed a 14-point proposal at the meeting.

"The 11th national election should be held under the present government as per the Constitution, but it can't take any policy decision except doing routine works after the announcement of election schedule. Home, Public Administration and Local Government ministries should be under the EC during the election," the party said in its written proposal.

It also said all officials to be engaged in election duty should be kept under the EC for a certain period before and after the polls, and the EC should have the authority to take any punitive action against the officials for their any offence or negligence in duty. "The government shall be obliged to implement the EC's decision of punitive actions."

The party also proposed the EC not to re-demarcate parliamentary constituencies ahead of the next election as no population census was conducted after the previous delimitation of constituencies done in 2013.

It, however, said the EC can redraw constituencies in some cases.

"We don't think there's any scope for controversy over the format of election-time government as the polls will be held in line with the Constitution. But the polls-time government will only perform routine works. It won't take any policy decision," Menon told reporters after the meeting.

About army deployment, he said, "If the Election Commission deems it necessary, the army can be deployed only as striking forces in some cases in aid of the civil administration. We've bitter experiences over the army deployment with magistracy power in the 2001 election and some other polls during the Ershad's regime."

Menon said his party wants to see the full enforcement of provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Order against the parties involved in war crimes and creates disparity using communal symbols.

"We've suggested the Commission not to give registration to any communal and ant-liberation parties. If any such party got the registration in the past, it should be cancelled," he said.

Mentioning that foreign missions and donor agencies become active ahead of national election, the minister said, "We think foreign country's interference in our election is quiet unacceptable. We hope the EC won't bow down to any pressure from them."

He also expected that BNP will join the next election. "I think BNP will participate in the polls. "It'll be appropriate decision for the party."

Its other proposals of the party include introduction online nomination submission system, using electronic voting machines (EVM) alongside ballot papers, scraping the provision for independence candidates to collect signatures of 1 percent voters, strictly monitoring election expenditures, curbing use of muscle power and terrorism, stopping the use of religion and communal matters in election and ensuring equal facilities for all.

The Election Commission on August 24 last started dialogue with 40 registered political parties to receive their opinions over the EC's preparation for the next national election likely to be held in December 2018. So far, the Commission held the dialogues with 29 parties.