The Election Commission (EC) has decided to allow offices and factories to remain open during Chattogram City Corporation elections scheduled for March 29.
This is the first time the commission has decided to permit offices and factories to remain open till 12pm and allow vehicle movement during the polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda told journalists – after a programme at the Chattogram Circuit House auditorium on Saturday.
Huda said, "Voters cannot come from far away to the polling centres if vehicles are not allowed on the roads. Many people do not come to vote in protest of this. That is why we have decided to allow for vehicles to use the roads in a limited way – but not allow for totally unrestricted movement."
At the programme, the chief election commissioner urged candidates' agents to go to polling centres and ordered law enforcement to ensure that nobody drives the agents out of them.
Huda said, "Polling agents are a candidate's most dependable person. They have the power to prevent irregularities at the booths. So agents must come to the polling centres."
Addressing the magistrate, police and other law enforcement, the CEC said, "You must ensure the safety of an agent going to a polling centre."
However, he added, "Often in the complaints that agents were prevented from entering centres – or were driven out – we find that those agents did not go to that location at all. If the agent does not go to the centres, you and I can do nothing about it."
Urging the voters to come to the polling centres, Huda said, "Come to the polling centres and cast your vote for whoever you choose to. You will face no obstruction."
"If one casts a vote via EVM [electronic voting machine], one cannot vote again as the machine will reject it. So there is no chance of there being fake votes."
After the CEC's speech, a closed-door meeting presided over by Chattogram Divisional Commissioner ABM Azad began. Chattogram Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Mahbubur Rahman, and Chattogram Deputy Commissioner Mohamamd Elias Hossain, among others, attended the meeting.