4th phase polls held in better atmosphere
Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed yesterday said the fourth phase union parishad elections were held in a better atmosphere compared to the previous three phases.
However, the BNP in its post-election reaction complained of massive irregularities, violence and vote rigging by activists of the ruling Awami League, and said the election atmosphere worsened further.
The AL for the first time did not give any reaction to the media after the voting ended at 4:00pm yesterday.
“We are sorry to say that irregularities and violence continued,” said BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan while talking to reporters after a meeting with the CEC.
The overall election atmosphere deteriorated further. Election is one of the key components of democracy, Nazrul said, adding that people would soon lose interest in the electoral process if elections were not held in an acceptable and congenial manner.
The BNP would follow democratic means to resist irregularities and restore people's faith in election and democracy, the opposition party leader said.
In a post-poll press conference, the CEC said, “It is a matter of sorrow that some untoward and stray incidents of violence took place in the fourth phase. Otherwise, the polls were held in a peaceful manner.”
He claimed that violence was less this time due to preventive measures by the EC.
“We are expecting that the next two phases of the union parishad polls will be held in more peaceful manner.”
Voting in at least 51 polling centres out of 6,727 was suspended because the situation there went beyond the control of the presiding officers deployed at the centres, Kazi Rakibuddin said.
The EC took prompt actions upon receiving allegations of vote irregularities, he said in reply to a query.
He urged all including candidates and their supporters to comply with the electoral code of conduct to help ensure peaceful and fair polls in the next two phases.
Meanwhile, election monitoring body Brotee in a statement said the voting day atmosphere improved from that of the previous three phases. But allegations have been raised against supporters of political parties, especially the ruling AL, of committing irregularities.
According to The Daily Star reports, 10 people were killed in violence on the voting day of the first phase UP polls on March 22.
The voting day death tolls in the second and third phase UP polls on March 31 and April 23 were eight and one while at least three were killed in polls related violence yesterday.