The ruling Awami League has claimed that the just-concluded upazila parishad elections were much fairer than other local body elections held previously, but an Election Commissioner expressed dissatisfaction over the failure to prevent some irregularities.
The polls were held in a fair and credible manner even amid a conflicting political situation in the country, said AL presidium member Obaidul Quader at a press conference at the party president's Dhanmondi office in the capital.
The communications minister also thanked the government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Election Commission for what he said was holding successful elections despite many obstacles. The party organised the press conference to clear its position regarding the fourth upazila parishad elections.
Talking to reporters at his office, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz, however, said some irregularities had taken place during the elections, as many field-level officers appointed for election activities had not discharged their duties properly. He assured of taking action against them.
The commissioner said he was not satisfied, as the EC could not conduct completely credible polls. He stressed the need for reforms in the electoral laws for ensuring free and fair polls.
Shah Nawaz said he would not say the upazila elections had been completely free and fair. None of the elections so far held in the country were completely free and fair, he added.
It is very difficult to conduct and manage elections in a rising democracy like Bangladesh, where people lack democratic patience and tolerance. But there is no alternative to free, fair and acceptable elections for upholding democracy, the commissioner said.
Responding to a question, the Awami League leader said the fourth upazila election had begun in an excellent way and finished smoothly.
Obaidul blamed rebel candidates of the political parties for spoiling the congenial atmosphere of the elections, which was unexpected.
"Upazila elections once again proved that people are the source of power and they have elected their favourite candidates.”
Rejecting BNP's allegation that the government had influenced the elections, Obaidul said there was no misuse of power in the upazila elections.
“Many Awami League-blessed candidates were defeated in the constituencies of ministers from the ruling party. Our candidates were defeated in Pirganj and Kishoreganj sadar.”
The Awami League did not bag a single seat in Bogra, the communications minister said, adding that candidates, blessed by the Jamaat-e-Islami, whose registration with the EC had been cancelled, won several seats. "Then how the government did influence the elections!"
Quader criticised the BNP leadership for what he said was "resorting to falsehood and raising baseless allegations".