Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said if voters do not come to polling stations, then it will be understood that democracy has fallen sick and it is in its death throes.
"The fact is that voters have lost their interest. If democracy and democratic spirit is to be kept alive, voters must come to polling centres," the CEC said at a dialogue with Islamic Front Bangladesh at the capital's election building on Sunday.
"And if they (voters) do not come to polling stations, then it will be understood that democracy has fallen sick and is in its death throes," he added.
Kazi Habibul Awal said they are looking at what authority they have and added, "We have to carry out our duties within the authority we have. We will try our best to deliver those duties."
Saying the Election Commission (EC) will leave no stone unturned, he said, "We want to assure you that we will exercise power in the light of law and regulations. We will look at it systematically."
In a separate dialogue with Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, the CEC highlighted the legal issues of the constitution, laws and regulations and said, "We don't see much deficiency in our authority. We don't feel there is much lacking in our authority.
Regarding the excessive expenditure in the election, he said the actual expenditure in the election is very high. Candidates are allowed to spend Tk10-20 lakh, but their actual expenditure rises to Tk15-20 crore.
"To control the influence of money, a limit must be put on campaigns. Only then the actual cost can be reduced. If election campaigns of all the parties are conducted from the same platform, it is called a projection meeting, which takes place abroad. I like this proposal. But our law does cover it," said the CEC.
Meanwhile, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal claimed in the dialogue that foreign diplomats interfered with the work of the EC against diplomatic norms and termed it unsolicited.
In response, he said two groups of foreign diplomats had courtesy meetings with the commission, but they did not offer any advice. They met the EC in the same manner they did so with the previous commissions too.
Stating that the rules and regulations should be strictly enforced during the elections, he said, "At that time, the EC's approach may be strict for peaceful and fair elections."
The CEC assured them of taking measures to ensure equal opportunities for all parties in the elections.
In a dialogue with Bangladesh Khilafat Andolan yesterday morning, he said that the general election is a difficult and complicated event.
"Such a difficult and complex task is not impossible if everyone has a sincere concerted effort. Citizen awareness is required and wholehearted support and concerted effort of all are required. Our colleagues also said that it would be difficult for us without the mercy and grace of Allah. So you must pray for us so that we can fulfil our duty properly and look at Allah," he continued.
Meanwhile, 39 registered political parties have been invited to the dialogue to decide the procedures for the 12th parliamentary elections.
During the six days of the dialogue, the commission was supposed to sit with a total of 20 parties, but four parties boycotted the talks.