'EC, AL join hands to rig UP elections'
The BNP has alleged that the ruling Awami League and the Election Commission are plotting to ensure victories for the AL candidates in the union parishad polls through electoral irregularities, but the AL and the EC have brushed aside the allegations.
Local administration, election officials, and ruling party cadres have jointly chalked out a massive plan to elect AL's candidates unopposed, it said.
A BNP delegation, led by its Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed, yesterday met EC Secretary Sirazul Islam at the latter's office and submitted a letter, bring allegations against polling officials and AL men.
In response, the EC said the BNP was raising allegations in a generalised manner instead of being specific. And the AL said it does not see anything wrong if AL candidates are elected unopposed because of the people's “confidence in the AL government”.
After the meeting, Rizvi told reporters that at least 114 BNP candidates were out of the race due to obstructions from the AL men and election officers. At least 51 AL candidates were set to be elected unopposed, he said.
Homes of several BNP-backed chairman aspirants have been vandalised and looted and returning officers in some UPs cancelled nominations of BNP candidates on lame excuse, Rizvi alleged.
When the EC is supposed to act as the guardian, its officials are playing a biased role. The commission had turned into an order-bearer of the executive, he further alleged.
Polls to 738 UPs will be held on March 22 in first phase.
For the first time in Bangladesh, elections for the post of chairman would be held on partisan lines and 16 political parties, out of 40, are taking part in the polls.
Meanwhile, the BNP has decided to send letters to upazila units, where the party-nominated aspirants could not file nominations, asking for explanation as to why the units failed to have their chairman aspirants' candidacy ensured.
The BNP would place its case before the international community to portray the ruling party's oppression on BNP men if it was found that AL men obstructed BNP candidates.
Following BNP's claim, EC's Secretary Sirazul said action would be taken, if the EC found any specific and particular allegations. Three elements are important: who committed the irregularities, when it happened, and where it happened, the secretary said.
Many leaders of other political parties want to join the ruling party or make themselves inactive ahead of the UP polls to show their confidence in the government, said AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif at a press briefing at the AL president's Dhanmondi office.
He refuted the BNP's allegations and said stern action would be taken against party men contesting the polls as AL rebels.
The AL yesterday declared the name of party-nominated chairman candidates for 672 UPs that would go to polls on Mach 31, the second phase.