No hurry to use EVM, says Hasina

No hurry to use EVM, says Hasina

Dhaka, Sep 2 (Just News): Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the electronic voting machines should not be imposed hurriedly as the machines need to be introduced on a limited scale in national elections.

‘There's an EVM system in many countries of the world. I was always and still, I'm in favour of it. Yes, this is right it shouldn't be imposed in hastily as it's a matter of practice. We'll have to examine it,’ she said while addressing a press conference at Ganabhaban.

The press conference was arranged to brief the media about the outcomes of her just-concluded visit to Nepal for attending the 4th BIMSTEC summit.

The prime minister said the introduction of EVMs is part of the government's 'Digital Bangladesh' vision as it is a new technology.

‘Well, let it (EVM) be used in some places. Let people examine gradually whether there's any system loss here (with machines),’ she said.

Hasina said if any system loss is found in assessment, the EVM use will be cancelled. ‘This not final words (EVM must be introduced). There's nothing to raise so much of objections here.

Let's start using the technology on a limited scale.’

Noting that BNP is very much vocal against EVM, she said BNP does not want the EVM as they will not be able to apply their vote-rigging technique with the machines.

‘They know a good rigging technique.... we're yet to discover it,’ she said adding that even election observers could not find out their technique.

BNP gets more media attention, not Awami League

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the media gives the BNP preference and not her party, the ruling Awami League.

“It is their good luck that the media favours them. I come in third, fourth or fifth in the news on television channels... BNP gets preference,” said Hasina.

“They [BNP] are not in parliament, and not the main opposition party,” she said, adding that BNP still gets more priority than the current opposition party in the mass media.

HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party is the current main opposition in parliament with 39 seats.

Hasina also said that the incarcerated BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, could only be released either by the court or the president if she seeks clemency.

“I have not arrested Khaleda Zia. It was not even a political arrest. She was arrested for embezzling the money meant for orphans. There is no way they [BNP] can blame us for the situation,” she said.

BNP chief Khaleda is currently serving five years in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case, which was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission. She was convicted on February 8.

Saying the graft case was not filed by her administration, the prime minister said: “If the government had interfered, then the trial would not have taken 10 years to finish.”

Hasina, who is also the chief of the ruling party, said no renowned lawyers or barristers were able to prove Khaleda innocent in the case and there was no point in blaming Awami League for that.

BNP leaders at a rally, marking the party’s 40th founding anniversary, in Naya Paltan on Saturday also demanded Khaleda’s release from jail before the announcement of the schedule of the upcoming national polls.

‘No talks with BNP’

The prime minister also ruled out any possibility to hold dialogues with BNP, the arch-political rival of her party.

“I decided that no talks will be held with them since that day when I was sent back from the gate of Khaleda's Gulshan office when her son Arafat Rahman Coco died,” she said. “I do have some self-respect.”

On January 24, 2015, Hasina had gone to the BNP chief’s Gulshan office to console her after Coco died in Malaysia. But the prime minister was sent back from the gate as Khaleda had “fallen sick and was put to sleep by her doctors.”

Hasina on Sunday also said that only BNP knew whether it would participate in the 11th general election, scheduled to be held in the last week of December.

“It’s solely BNP’s decision. We are neither going to invite them nor stop them,” she added.