BNP boycotts ‘farcical’ city polls

Polling agents forced out of Residential School Center, Dhaka. Source:Naya diganta

BNP boycotted mayoral elections of Dhaka and Chittagong city corporations just four hours after the voting started on Tuesday, citing that the polls were ‘rigged, farcical and marked with irregularities’.

“This illegal government and the Election Commission (EC) have deprived the people of fulfilling their expectation. There were no polling agents in the polling centres. All centres were usurped by the ruling party cadres. There was vote robbery in connivance with the police and the RAB. We will not accept this election. We boycotted this election,” BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed said this at a press briefing at around 12:00 noon at the party’s central office in the city.

Adorsho Dhaka Andolon (ADA)-nominated and BNP-backed mayoral candidates for Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mirza Abbas’ wife Afroza Abbas and Tabith Awal, mayoral candidate for  Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), convenor of ADA Dr Emajuddin Ahmed, senior journalist Mahfuzullah, BNP vice-chairman Selima Rahman, among others, were present.

“We (BNP) participated in the elections with a big hope. We hoped that we would strengthen our democratic movement through victory in the city corporation elections,” he said.

“In many places our polling agents were not allowed to enter into the polling centres. Many agents were arrested. Thousands of police, BGB and RAB personnel were deployed for ensuring security in the elections. But they (Police, BGB and RAB) were basically deployed for ensuring winning of the ruling party-backed candidates. They themselves sealed ballot papers and stuffed ballot boxes. EC will declare that the elections were free and fair. In real terms five per cent people did not exercise their franchise.”

“Dr Emajuddin Ahmed went to Dhaka College centre for casting his vote. He was harassed. The city dwellers of Dhaka and Chittagong and people will never accept the elections,” he added.

Afroza Abbas said, “I visited different polling centres at about 7:30 am and was also prepared for casting my vote. At that moment I got the news that many polling centres were took over. I first went to Fakirapool Kamar Ali Lane, where my agents were beaten and forcefully expelled from the centres. I was also harassed. Many media persons were also harassed. Their cameras were damaged. All the votes were cast by the ruling party cadres.”

“Let the countrymen know how Awami League cadres took control of the polling centres,” she urged media.

Tabith Awal said, “What happened today (Tuesday) was not election.”

He said people were brought from outside Dhaka by bus and microbus. They were allowed to enter into the polling centres. They cast votes in favour of the ruling party candidates.

“My polling agents at Tejgaon centre were beaten and forced to get out from the centres by the ruling cadres. Only ruling party candidates’ agents were allowed to enter into the polling centres,” he alleged.

Source: Financial Express