The Election Commission has found no need for deployment of army during Dhaka North, South and Chittagong City corporation elections which are scheduled to be held on April 28.
Following a three-hour-long meeting with the chiefs of the country's law enforcing agencies, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed told the media that the law enforcing agencies assured the EC that 'the pre-election period is normal' so 'we don't feel it necessary to deploy the army during the poll in the three city corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong.'
"However, a final decision regarding deployment of army in the city corporation polls in Dhaka and Chittagong will be taken in a day or two and we will share it with the people through you (media)," the CEC said.
The EC commissioners, the Principal Staff Officer of PMO, the Inspector General of Police, the Director Generals of the RAB, BGB, DGFI, NSI, Coast Guard, Ansar and VDP, DMP Commissioner, CMP Commissioner and other top officials attended the meeting at the NEC conference room in Agargaon on Sunday with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad in the chair.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SUJAN) and other political parties have urged the EC to deploy army during the poll to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
Soon after the meeting with the law enforcing agencies, the CEC called an emergency meeting of his staff members, where all the EC Commissioners and the EC Secretary were present. But all the participants, including the CEC, refused to talk to journalists regarding the outcome of the meeting.
The CEC said that the law enforcing agencies also assured the EC of cooperation in various other areas, including installation of CCTV cameras, management of voters and technological assistance.
"Necessary measures should be taken to ensure peaceful voting environment and check occupation of polling centres and hijacking of ballot papers and ballot boxes," the CEC remarked adding that everything would be clear within a couple of days.
Replying to a query, the CEC said the there is no way to repeat vote rigging, ballot box and ballot paper hijackings, violence and killings that occurred during the previous upazila parishad elections as the media is now more vibrant and independent.
"Now the media is everywhere and they are working as watchdog,. The EC has to decide whether it can control the situation without deploying the army," he said.
If the EC decided that it will not deploy the army during poll time then the EC is going to arrange security for four days after the elections.
Police, APBN, Ansar, RAB and BGB members will be deployed as striking and mobile forces while executive magistrates and judicial magistrates will run mobile courts.
"Army should be deployed few days before the election, if necessary," he further said, adding that the EC will also have to take necessary steps to ensure that all participants maintain discipline during the city corporation polls.