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EC has nothing to do with Tarique’s interview issue

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Staff Reporter
ec secretaryElection Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed on Monday said the Commission has nothing to do with BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman's participation in taking interview of their party candidates through vid-eoconferencing.
"As Tarique Rahman joined the BNP nomination board through videoconferencing from abroad, the electoral code of conduct is not applicable for him... and right now the EC has nothing to do with it," he said while talking to reporters after an EC meeting at the Nirbachan Bhaban.
He, however, said since there is a directive of the High Court in this regard everyone is obliged to follow the directive.
Despite objection by the ruling Awami League, BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman joined the nomination board through videoconferencing while interviewing its nomination seekers in the last couple of days.
Ruling Awami League on Sunday filed a written complaint with the EC saying that interviewing nomination seekers by Tarique through videoconferencing is a clear violation of electoral rules and the court order.
About the violence unleashed in front of BNP's Nayapaltan central office, the EC secretary said the Election Commission thinks a criminal offence occurred there, which is now under investigation. "So, there's no objec-tion to continuing the investigation legally."
"The EC thinks there is no reason to stop the investigating. But the EC has asked the Inspector General of Police so that no innocent person is unnecessarily harassed in this incident," said Helal Uddin.
He said the IGP on Sunday submitted the full report including audio, video and still pictures to the Election Commission in response to the EC's directives to send the details reports over the unexpected incident occurred at Nayapaltan on November 14.
The report was elaborately reviewed at the Commission meeting, said the EC Secretary.
He said the Commission also asked all concerned to be careful so that such incident does not occur anymore.
The EC sought cooperation from all political parties and voters in maintaining the election-friendly atmosphere, he added.
The Commission meeting also reviewed a list of cases filed against BNP leaders and activists and found many cases filed before polls schedule announced on November 8. "The EC thinks it has nothing to do with the matter occurred before the announcement of election schedule."
About the cases filed after the announcement of election schedule, Helal Uddin said the EC also discussed the cases also but did not take any decision. "The Commission will take the decision on the cases later," he said.
Regarding the deadline to remove election campaign materials by Sunday midnight, the EC Secretary said some 90 percent materials have already been removed.
Now the magistrates engaged in election duty are supposed to conduct drives against posters, banners and wall graffiti from Monday, he said.
"If posters, banners and graffiti are not removed from any place, the officials will take legal actions alongside removing those with the help of local government bodies," Helal Uddin said.
In reply to a question, he said the Commission has already dispatched a letter to different political parties asking them to submit signatures and photographs of their respective leaders who will have the authority to confirm the EC of their candidates nominated for the election.
Responding to a question whether the photographs of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia or its acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who are now convicted, can be used in posters and banner as the party's chief, the EC Secre-tary said the political parties can decide whose photographs will be used.