Whether a party will be allowed to hold public meeting is not under the jurisdiction of the election commission until announcement of the schedule for general elections, chief election commission M Nurul Huda said on Sunday.
“Once the poll schedule is announced, the matter will come under the commission’s jurisdiction. We’ll take steps in accordance with election laws,” he told newsmen.
The CEC was addressing an event to unveil the EC’s roadmap for the general elections - Master Plan for the 11th Parliamentary Polls - at the commission secretariat at Agargaon in the capital.
The statement came in an apparent response to allegations by the opposition parties, especially by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), that they are not being given permission for holding public meetings.
The CEC also mentioned that the EC had not closed the option of using digital voting machine (DVM) although the commission earlier said it would not use the option unless there is a consensus among political parties on this issue. The BNP has already raised objection to it.
“We have not closed the door of using DVM in elections. Following talks with the political parties, if the government cooperates with us, it’s possible to use to it,” Huda said.
He expressed the commission’s ‘determination to hold the next general elections, without being influenced by the government, any party, or local and foreign agency”.
Huda who was appointed during the current regime of the Awami League government said it’s very much possible for the EC to hold free and fair polls even with the Awami League in power.
“We are fully confident to make the next elections free and fair, withstanding all sorts of pressures and influence of the government. We will be able to hold free and fair elections under this government,” added Huda.
He, however, said the government has some responsibilities to do to make the polls free and fair.