BNP enters Dhaka city election race with rigging, fairness fears

The BNP is going to contest in the elections to the two city corporations in Dhaka with fears lingering in the party over the fairness of the ballot.

Published : 23 Dec 2019, 04:48 PM
Updated : 23 Dec 2019, 09:48 PM

The National Standing Committee of the party took the decision on Monday night in line with its pronounced position to fight in local government polls, Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said after a meeting at the BNP chief’s Gulshan office.

“But it will still totally depend on the election atmosphere. We’ll see what finally happens,” he added.

The BNP fielded mayoral candidates in the polls to the Dhaka North and South city corporations in 2015 after it stayed away from the 2014 general election. The party, however, had staged a boycott of the city polls midway through voting alleging irregularities.

It joined the general election in December last year but rejected the results alleging ballot rigging and intimidation.

The party stayed away again from the mayoral by-election to the Dhaka North City Corporation in March this year. 

It still has fears of rigging and doubts over the Election Commission’s ability to deliver fair polls.

Fakhrul alleged the EC “hastily” announced the schedule of the Dhaka city polls on Sunday setting Jan 30 as the voting day “only to let the ruling Awami League win”.

He also alleged that the EC would use electronic voting machines or EVMs in the Dhaka polls “to manipulate the results”.

The party will distribute its nomination forms on Thursday and Friday, according to Fakhrul. It would the name the candidates after interviewing the hopefuls on Dec 28, he added.

According to the schedule, election hopefuls have until Dec 31 to submit their nomination papers. The nominations will be screened on Jan 2 while the last date for withdrawing candidature is Jan 9.

The voters will elect councillors along with the two mayors.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher