Top BNP policymakers yesterday told diplomats that there is no level-playing field ahead of the elections of Dhaka north and south city corporations scheduled for February 1.
They said this at a meeting with the diplomatic corps in Dhaka at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office and informed them about the prevailing situation.
The BNP leaders brought allegations of violations of electoral code of conduct by the ruling party’s mayoral candidates and their supporters attacking BNP candidates during their campaigns, said a party insider who was present at the meeting.
They also informed the diplomats that the government is now engaged in harassing the party’s mayoral and councillor candidates in the election by implicating them in politically motivated cases, the source said.
After the meeting, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury told reporters that his party informed the diplomats about the attacks on BNP’s Dhaka South City Corporation mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain and Dhaka North City Corporation candidate Tabith Awal.
In such a circumstance, there is no level-playing field to hold the city elections in a free, fair and credible manner and the issue has been elaborately presented before the diplomats, the BNP leader said.
Citing demerits of using the much-talked-about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), BNP drew attention of the diplomats toward the Election Commission’s rigid stance on using EVMs in the election, Amir Khasru said.
“Using EVMs is a process to snatch people’s voting rights and make the election questionable. It can’t be acceptable by any means,” he added.
Diplomats of at least 20 countries including the UK, the USA, China, Canada, India, France, Turkey, Germany, Australia and the European Union member states took part in the hour-long closed-door meeting that began around 4:00pm.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, its Standing Committee Members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, and some other top party leaders attended the meeting.