BNP on Wednesday demanded reelections to Dhaka south and north city corporations cancelling Saturday’s voting as the party said people’s opinion was not reflected in the polls, reports UNB.
Speaking at a post-election press conference at Emanuel's Banquet Hall in the city’s Gulshan area, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also claimed that only 7-9 per cent votes were cast in the city polls.
BNP’s defeated two mayoral candidates, Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain-- arranged the press conference to give their formal reactions to Dhaka north and south city corporation’s polls held on Saturday.
“We would like to clearly say that people’s opinion was not reflected in the city polls, and people couldn’t cast their votes. So, we call for cancelling the results of that polls holding fresh election to the two city corporations,” Fakhrul said.
He said the voter presence in the election was very low as people have no confidence in the government and the election commission.
Fakhrul alleged that the government has destroyed the country’s election system and all the democratic institutions with an aim to ‘restore’ one-party Baksal rule which Awami League could not fully establish in 1975.
Fakhrul said a valid question is raised about whether those who won such city polls with ‘actual seven to nine per cent votes’ are legally eligible to discharge the duties as the public representatives.
He said the elections held in the country over the last 10-12 years have proved that no polls cane never be held fairly under Awami League.
“That’s why we’ve long been saying repeatedly about holding election under a non-party government, like caretaker government what was in the past, and under an impartial election commission to resolve the problem,” the BNP leader observed.
He also said the main political ‘crisis, the country has long been facing, can only be resolved through arranging a free, fair, inclusive and participatory election.
Fakhrul said it is a difficult task to ‘restore’ democracy and intensify the democratic movement. “So, we’ll free Khaleda Zia and then restore democracy.”
At the press conference, Tabith and Ishraque depicted various election irregularities, including obstructing voters from going to polling stations and attacking BNP leaders and activists, through screening separate documentaries.
The two candidates also turned down the election results.
BNP’s mayoral candidate to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) polls, Tabith Awal, demanded the election commission present transparently all the information about the results of the city elections.
He also said voters were not allowed to enter the polling stations at the behest of senior Awami League leaders. “Attempts to control the voting centers were made by creating fake voter lines and keeping ruling party activists there. The ruling party didn’t allow voters to come to the polling stations in a planned way to rig votes.”
“Our ruling party opponent’s main strategy was to bar voters from entering the polling stations and stopping them from casting votes,” Tabith added.
He said Awami League’s DNCC mayoral candidate Atiqul Islam met prime minister Sheikh Hasina at 9pm and declared himself as the mayor-elect when the results of only 20% centres were announced.
The BNP candidate also presented some documents on driving out his election agents from polling stations and taking position at the polling booths by ruling party men to force people cast votes for the Awami League candidate.
Tabith said the chief election commissioner had assured them of announcing the results four-five hour after the end of voting since the election was held with EVMs, but people had to wait for the results until 4am. “We still didn’t get the written results with all the information.”
BNP’s Dhaka South City Corporation polls’ mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain said the election commission announced ‘imaginary and fabricated’ results, and thus injustice has been done to the voters through the city polls.
He said the city dwellers were deprived of their right to franchise. “The ruling party cadres captured the polling stations and staged a grand festival of vote rigging.”
Ishraque said he found frustration and helplessness among some police, election officials and other government officials concerned as the government forced all the state machineries to play a subservient role in favour of it.
He also said through the city polls it has been proved that EVMs are faulty and ineffective voting system while the Sheaf of Paddy symbol was not kept on many machines.
The BNP candidate said as the voter turnout was less than 10 per cent the presiding officers were forced to cast fake votes using special codes.