Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday claimed the elections to two Dhaka city corporations were not held in a free and fair manner.

The leader further claimed the speech by prime minister Sheikh Hasina was akin to interference with the elections.

“The day had begun with a serious violation of code of elections conduct. After casting her vote at (Dhaka) City College centre what the prime minister told media is like interfering with elections directly. After casting her vote, the prime minister called on people to vote for boat, which does not fall in line of the code of polls conduct,” Fakhrul told a media conference at the party’s Naya Paltan central office in the afternoon.

Mirza Fakhrul also brought various allegations of irregularities in the elections. He said though the presiding officers were given the power to cast only one per cent of vote (to help those who find casting vote tough), they cast a lot more than that.

He also said the BNP candidates’ agents were not allowed to enter the centres. Those who entered the centres were beaten up and thrown out. The presiding officers and the law enforcement agencies kept mum, he added.

Mirza Fakhrul also alleged that the chief election commissioner (CEC) instigated the ruling party leaders and activists for violence calling the agents to resist.

The BNP secretary general said many could not cast their vote as there were problems in registering fingerprints.

Mirza Fakhrul also alleged BNP’s electoral symbol – paddy sheaf – was missing in many polling centres. Agents of The ruling party’s candidates entered the voting booths and forced voters to vote for them. Journalists were also heckled. Voters did not go to exercise their franchise rights for fear over their security due ot showdown of the (ruling party) goons in locality.

Those who wore badges of boat, the electoral symbol of Awami League, were outsiders but the law enforcement agencies did not take action against it, he said adding that the election commission and the returning officers did not take any action.

Mirza Fakhrul apprehended that vote would be cast opening machines as per the wishes of the government after the completion of voting (to show higher turnout).

BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Mirza Abbas, Selima Rahman, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and others were present at the media conference.