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EC likely to announce schedule today

Electoral codes being violated, say field level officials at EC meeting

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission is likely to announce today the schedule for elections to about 90 Upazila Parishads in the fourth phase with a plan to hold the polls on March 25.
The EC is holding polls to all the 490 Upazila Parishads in the country in six phases.
‘You will know tomorrow about the fourth phase Upazila election,’ the chief election commissioner, Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, told newsmen after a meeting on Wednesday with the deputy commissioners, police superintendents and field-level EC officials to work out plans to maintain law and order during the Upazila elections.  
Earlier, the EC announced the schedules for three phases of Upazila elections. According to the schedule, elections to 98 Upazila councils would be held on February 19, elections to 117 UZ councils on February 27 and elections to 83 UZ councils on March 15.
A total of 432 candidates for the position of chairman, 513 for vice-chairmen and 329 for woman vice-chairman are vying in elections to 98 Upazila councils in the first phase and a total of 515 for the position of chairman, 521 for vice-chairman and 340 for vice-chairwoman are vying in 117 Upazila council elections in the second phase.
At the law and order meeting, field level election officials expressed their helplessness that many of the candidates were violating electoral code of conduct even after repeated warnings.
They also requested the Election Commission to take some stringent measures against errant candidates.
They also said many of the Upazila chairmen who are contesting in the ensuing polls were using the official vehicles in breach of the law.
In reply, the CEC asked all the officials concerned to go tough against violation of electoral code of conduct.
Later, talking to newsmen, the CEC said the EC was resolute to make the Upazila polls free, fair and credible. ‘Nobody will be spared in the interest of holding a fair election. We have warned the officials against any wrongdoings.’
Asked whether the field level officials feared violence during the polls, the CEC replied in the negative saying, ‘There was no fear of violence during the polls. We will monitor the situation closely.’
He said, ‘The information we have received suggested that the polls will be held in a festive mood as the polls will be well-contested.’
About the plan to deploy troops during the Upazila elections, Rakibuddin Ahmad said the home ministry has sent a proposal to the commission. ‘We are examining their proposal and finalize the deployment plan soon.’
In response to another question, the CEC said the troops would be deployed for five days in the election areas from two days before the polling day.
‘We have taken necessary measures to ensure security for the voters and voters belonging to the minority communities in particular.

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