Cantt best location for army as reserve force for polls: CEC

Cantt best location for army as reserve force for polls: CEC

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Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad has said the army can best fulfill its role as a reserve force during the three city corporation elections from inside the cantonments.
“The cantonment is centrally located in Dhaka. It is ideal to move anywhere from there…I think the cantonment is the best location (for them),” the CEC told reporters at the Election Commission Secretariat on Thursday evening.Rakibuddin said though the three battalions of the army will maintain their position inside the cantonments in Dhaka and Chittagong as reserve force, they will act as striking force at the request of the returning officers.
“If they stay inside the cantonment, it’ll be strategically easier for them to move to Dhaka North and Dhaka South. So they were asked to stay inside the cantonment,” he said.
Earlier on the day, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said there is no need for army patrol during the elections to the three city corporations – Dhaka South City Corporation, Dhaka North City Corporation and Chittagong City Corporation.
“As there are cantonments in the city corporations, the army will stay inside the cantonments as reserve force. If necessary, the returning officers will request them to act as a striking force. There is no need for patrol of the army right now,” he told reporters at his Election Commission Secretariat office.
The commissioner said adequate number of regular law enforcers including members of Police, Rab, BGB, Coast Guard and Ansar will be kept deployed in the election areas for four days from April 26, who will patrol and take up positions in different locations of the election areas.
About the EC’s revised letter to the Armed Forces Division, Shah Nawaz said the commission sent the revised letter as the EC, in its first letter did not mention where the army will stay while discharging election duty as reserve force.
On Tuesday, the Election Commission decided to deploy three battalions of the army in DSCC, DNCC and CCC areas for four days from April 26 to 29.
The commission also sent a letter to the Armed Forces Division on the same day requesting that they act as reserve force and if necessary striking force in the elections.
The opposition BNP welcomed the EC move, but said if the army was not given magistracy power, the main goal of engaging the army will not achieved.
On Wednesday, the commission controversially sent a revised letter to the Armed Force Division stating that the army should stay inside the cantonment as reserve force and act as striking force only at request of the returning officers.
Many candidates of the elections, especially BNP-backed mayoral contenders, have been demanding deployment of the army in the elections. – UNB

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