The election commission secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed has called an excellent one the Khulna mayoral polls which have been marked by complaints of rigging and intimidation.
“The election commission thinks the Khulna city polls have been an excellent one,” Helal told a media briefing at the EC secretariat in the capital as the civic polls in the southern city of Khulna ended with allegations of ballot stuffing, driving out agents of opposition candidates and occupying polling stations.
Ruling Bangladesh Awami League mayor candidate Talukder Abdul Khalek has taken lead in the early counting of Khulna City Corporation elections.
Also a secretary of the Bangladesh government now run by the AL, Helal, however, admitted that there were irregularities in the balloting.
“The balloting in the three out of 289 polling stations has been suspended due to various irregularities. In the rest of 286 polling stations, balloting was held in an excellent manner with a festive mood,” claimed the government secretary.
When his attention was drawn to opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP's) complaints of election engineering, the EC secretary said, “A political party can raise such allegations. But the EC has checked it and found that the election was fair."
When newsmen drew his attention to an allegation of many voters that they found their votes casted already by the time they reached the polling centres, Helal said, “Yes, it can happen. Thing could be like he or she might not be voter of that particular polling station. It can be ascertained only after proper investigation.”
Asked whether the people’s trust in the election commission will increase by such elections, the EC secretary said, “It’s a local government polls.”
The chief election commissioner, KM Nurul Huda, avoided newsmen ostensibly to skip questions on the marred Khulna polls.
This is for the first time, CEC Huda avoided speaking before the media after a mayoral election.
Reporters who usually cover the election affairs said it has been almost a convention that the CEC would brief the media after every big election.
Even, they said, this CEC boasted before the media briefing after Rangpur and Cumilla city polls that the elections were good.