Ruling Awami League and its arch rival BNP today made contradictory statements over the Upazila Parishad election that was held in 97 upazilas of the country.
Awami League said the election was held in a free, fair and largely peaceful manner which is “pride-worthy” for the Sheikh Hasina government, a claimed which was refuted by the BNP.
BNP alleged that the "armed cadres" backed by ruling party laid siege to all the voting centres of seven to eight upazilas and carried out attacks on the opposition party-backed candidates and their supporters in other 17 upazilas during the election.
While giving ruling party’s reaction after the first phase of upazila elections, AL Election Steering Committee Co-chairman HT Imam said it was government's responsibility to assist the Election Commission to hold a free and fair election and the administration did it.
“Election was held in a free, fair and largely peaceful manner and it is proud-wordy for the party," Imam, also the premier’s establishment affairs adviser said at a press conference at AL's Dhanmondi office.
He also said the election was held in a festive manner and with huge participation of voters.
Asked about the untoward incidents in a number of upazilas, he said some minor incidents always take place in every election. "What happens in several places is nothing but isolated incidents," he added.
While expressing his party’s reaction, BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed said: “The autocratic prime minister (Sheikh Hasina) once again held a peculiar election today where about seven to eight upazilas were cordoned off forcefully.”
“The upazila election has proved that our decision to boycott the January 5 “voter less” polls was correct as it was not held peacefully,” he said at a press conference at BNP’s Naya Paltan central office one hour after the election ended.
The upazila election has proved that BNP had to face dreadful situation and dire consequences if it participated in the national election, he added.
“Less that five percent vote was cast in the January 5 national election. And the upazila election was continuation of that parliamentary polls,” Rizvi said.
He said upazila election was not held peacefully as polling agents of BNP-backed candidates at different upazilas could not enter their respective polling centres.
“Besides, ruling party men created obstacles in many upazilas so that voters cannot cast vote in favour of BNP-backed candidates,” added Rizvi.
Rizvi alleged that local administrations did not take measures to this end even after filing of complaints. “Rather, they (administrations) also helped ruling party-backed candidates in different ways,”
"Armed cadres" of Awami League-backed candidate at Meherpur Sadar Upazila and Bakerganj upazila in Barisal district laid siege to all the voting centres in the upazilas, he added.