Krishak Sramik Janata League President Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddique has questioned the impartiality of the Election Commission (EC) for not providing the same duration to the political parties in ongoing dialogue.
"I saw in the newspaper that two hours were allocated for the BNP, two hours for the Awami League and one hour for the rest. Is it your [EC] decision? If the answer is yes, I would say that you have already lost your neutrality," he told the EC while participating in the dialogue at the election building on Wednesday.
He urged the EC to treat all the political parties equally.
Referring to EC's remark that if the BNP does not participate in the next parliamentary polls, the election will be spoiled, the Krishak Sramik Janata League president said neither the BNP nor the Awami League actually matters in a national election. What really matters is the people, the voters.
"If 65%-70% voters go to the polls and cast their ballots, then you cannot have a better Election Commission than the current one.
That is why unfettered voter turnout is necessary," Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddique commented.
"You have to make sure that the voters feel motivated in casting their ballots," he told the EC dialogue. "There will be barriers, there will be obstacles, but nothing is impossible at all."
He said, "In the last national election, the EC sank the country. So did his two predecessors. To me, there is no second election commissioner with a strong backbone like Abu Hena [the seventh chief election commissioner who served in the 1996-2000 term]."
Bangabir Abdul Kader Siddique criticised incumbent Chief Election Commission (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal for his "$10m reward for finding out any EVM flaw" and "sword-rifle" remarks. The leader also advised the CEC to resign if he ever faces a conflict with his morale.
Kader Siddique said the EC is the president, and the prime minister at the same time after the poll schedule announcement.
"The constitution has conferred you that power. But it depends on your backbone whether you can use it or not," he added.
CEC Kazi Habibul Awal has assured that he will try to hold his head high while performing his duties in the upcoming national elections.
"Only the almighty knows how successful we will be. But we will surely review the statements by political parties after the dialogue and convey it to the government and everyone," said the CEC.
He sought cooperation and support of the parties, stating that it will exercise its power in the light of the Constitution.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Zaker Party opposed the plan to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Instead, the party demanded introducing e-voting.
The CEC, however, said they are yet to finalise 100% EVM use in the next polls.
Till Wednesday, the ninth day of the talks, 23 parties have participated in the EC dialogue as eight parties have boycotted it.