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EC finalises Tk 8,711 cr project to use EVMs

Staff Correspondent: The Election Commission (EC) yesterday approved a Tk 8,711crore project to procure Electronic Voting Machines (EVMS) for 150 constituencies out of 300 ones in the 12th parliamentary election.
The project detail will soon be sent to the Planning Commission for approval, said Election Commissioner Md Alamgir in a press briefing. Earlier, the project was approved in a meeting of the commission. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal, who recently tested positive for Covid-19, joined the meeting virtually.
EC Alamgir said, “The comission earlier decided to use EVMs in 150 constituencies in next general election but the 1.5 lakh machines we currently have can be used in highest 70 to 80 seats.” So the project was approved to procure and maintain the new EVMs, he said.
The Election Commission unveiled roadmap for next general election at a function held at the auditorium of the Nirbachan Bhaban on Wednesday.
“17 parties out of 29 ones who participated in the recent dialogue gave their opinion in favour of using of EVM while 12 of them voted against it. The Commission thinks that it will be rational to use EVM as most of the political parties want it. The use of EVM in 150 constituencies will be rational for balancing the opinion of all parties, “said Election Commissioner Md Ahsan Habib.
Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior leader Mirza Abbas on Wednesday said that the roadmap announced by the Election Commission for the next general election was nothing but a ‘conspiracy’ to prolong the stay of the Awami League government in power.
On August 23, the EC decided to use electronic voting machines instead of traditional ballot papers in maximum 150 constituencies out of 300 ones in the next general election likely to be held late next year.
The decision received strong opposition from BNP and its allies, who didn’t join the talks with the CEC that continued throughout the month of July.
However the ruling Awami League welcomed the decision as it was their demand to use EVMs in all 300 seats in the next election. Earlier, the commission had invited 39 political parties registered with it to talks on the use of electronic voting machines; 28 political parties responded to the commission’s invitations while 11 parties, including the BNP, rejected it.

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