BNP demands EC's resignation for move to enroll under-18 olds

BNP demands EC’s resignation for move to enroll under-18 olds


Terming unlawful, motivated and whimsical the Election Commission’s (EC’s) move to enrol under-18 youths in the voter list, BNP on Monday demanded resignation of the CEC and other commissioners for what it said breaching their oath by indulging in illegal activities.
Addressing a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon also warned that the participation of the oppositional parties in the future polls will be uncertain if the current commission remains there in place.“We’re observing with concern that an incompetent, worthless, failed and the naughtiest Election Commission has taken a whimsical move to register 15-17 age group youths while updating the voter list ahead of elections in over 300 municipalities and union parishads,” he said.
The BNP leader further said, “As per the country’s existing law and the EC’s rules, there’s no scope for registering any citizen aged less than 18 in the voter roll. So, it’s an unlawful action of the EC.”
He, on behalf of his party, urged the EC to immediately stop unlawful registration of the under-18 youths.
On July 25, the Commission began the voter list updating process across the country with data collection of possible voters in 189 upazilas and thanas in the first phase.
The Commission also announced to register the youths aged 16-17 during the three-phased data collection period for updating the country’s voter list.
EC Secretary Md Sirazul Islam on July 2 briefed reporters about the schedules of data collection, saying that they estimate some 2.4 million fresh voters would be registered, to add to the country’s existing 96.2 million voters, while 4.8 million young citizens aged less than 18 would also be registered this time.
Ripon said their party has many reasons to consider the EC’s move a motivated one to register immature citizens as it earlier in all polls tried to ensure the victory of the ruling party-blessed candidates by any means.
The BNP leader said they feared that the move might have been taken to ensure the victory of the ruling party-backed candidates in the upcoming municipality and union parishad polls.
“The Commission wouldn’t have taken the move to register the citizens below 18 had it not have had any evil intention behind the voter list updating ahead of the local body polls. It’s not the duty of a statuary body to engage in unlawful acts. By doing this they breached their oath,” he observed.
“BNP demands the Chief Election Commissioners and all other members of the commission resign voluntarily for breaking their oath. If they don’t do that, we’ll urge the President to impeach them exercising his power bestowed upon him as per the constitutional provision,” Ripon added.
He alleged that the commission could not update the voter list properly earlier as it had engaged the ruling party men in it. “Many eligible people could not be enlisted as voters as the ruling party men engaged in the voter list updating task didn’t collect information visiting every house.”
Claiming that the country’s most women like BNP and vote for it, the BNP spokesman voiced concern that the number of female voters is decreasing gradually. “We apprehend that the commission at the behest of the government is dropping woman voters so that BNP cannot win the polls.”- UNB


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