BNP boycotts Dhaka, Chittagong city polls alleging rigging
Chief Political Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2015-04-28 12:38:18.0 BdST Updated: 2015-04-28 20:55:50.0 BdST
The BNP has pulled out of the elections to Dhaka and Chittagong city corporations on grounds they have been widely rigged.
BNP Standing Committee member Moudud Ahmed announced the decision at a media conference at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters several hours after voting started on Tuesday.
Moudud was flanked by the party-backed Dhaka South candidate Tabith Awal and North’s aspirant Mirza Abbas’ wife Afroza.
“What is taking place cannot be called voting,” he said. “We reject this voter-less election which is a mockery of democracy.”
Earlier, BNP-supported Chittagong mayor candidate M Manjur Alam pulled out of the polls raising similar allegations.
Moudud claimed the city polls proved that the people had “lost their right to vote”.
“Our fears have come true. They (the government) have made polling meaningless, let alone organise a fair election,” he said.
Afroza Abbas earlier claimed police and ruling Awami League activists had barred polling agents of her husband from manning 35 centres.
She has been campaigning for her husband, who stands accused in several cases.
Tabith Awal alleged his agents were beaten and forced out of polling stations.
He filed a complaint with the presiding officer of Tejgaon College centre two hours into voting.
Awal showed a torn-up badge of one of his agents. “There’s no environment for vote,” he said.
Presiding Officer Abdul Alim said they would look into the allegations.
Awami League supporters had allegedly stamped on party-endorsed Dhaka South mayor candidate Sayeed Khokon inside the presiding officer’s room at Old Dhaka’s Government Kabir Nazrul College.
A video shot by a councillor aspirant showed stamps had been put on symbol of a ruling party-backed candidate at Dhaka South ward number 19.
Moudud said, “This farcical election is a defeat for the government and the Election Commission.”
The former law minister claimed polling agents of their supported candidates were not allowed in almost all the voting centres in Dhaka.
“Those who entered were thrown out within half an hour of the start of voting while many of them were arrested by police,” he alleged.
In Chittagong, Awami League-backed mayor aspirant AJM Nasir’s supporters captured at least four polling stations and snatched ballots before stamping them.
Ahmed accused the security forces of siding with the ruling party activists.
“We denounce this voter-less election,” he said.
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