The Election Commission should conduct the local government elections fairly as it is reflective of the upcoming parliamentary elections, said representatives of civic platform Shujan.
Speakers at a roundtable discussion, organized by Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) at the National Press Club, made the comment on Monday morning.
Shujan leaders said the authorities concerned should take media reports about the Election Commission into cognizance, otherwise it will be hard to establish people's right to franchise.
They added that democracy could not flourish and be meaningful without the public’s involvement during election – be it at the local or national level. They also urged the government to ensure a fair and legal election process during local government polls.
Shujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder said they were very concerned about the fairness of the upcoming elections, the outcome of which would hold an important message for the national election.
Keynote speaker Dr Tofail Ahmed, Shujan’s executive member, said: "People have the right to exercise their franchise fearlessly in the upcoming city corporation polls and general election. It's their civil right as well as a constitutional right, and it is the duty of the government to give them their rights."
Shujan President Hafiz Uddin Khan said general people should be involved in the election process through awareness programs and they should also raise their voice in demanding fair and legal elections.
He urged the Election Commission to be aware of the fact that the local government institutions are run by government officials and this could influence the election as well.
Former Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Shakhawat Hussain stressed on the need for strengthening security measures and for army deployment in the next general election.
The program began with the unveiling of the book '' Nagarayon and Nagar Sarkart,'' written by Dr Tofail Ahmed and Bidhan Chandro Paul.
Secretary of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dol Khalekuzzaman, Barrister Rumin Farhana, and Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua spoke during the event, among others.
Barrister Rumin said: "It is doubtful that the voters will return to their home safely after casting their votes, as casting votes in polling centres has become risky."