12:00 AM, December 31, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:08 AM, December 31, 2018

'If they don't come, how will they be seen?'

CEC says regarding absence of BNP agents at polling centres

In the face of allegations that agents of BNP were hardly visible in polling centres across the country, the chief election commissioner (CEC) has claimed that they were not seen because they did not show up in the first place.

CEC KM Nurul Huda made the remark while talking to journalists after casting his ballot at Uttara IES School and College yesterday around 11:00am.

“It is their choice. If they don't come, how will they be seen?” Huda said, adding that the election was held in a fair manner except for one or two isolated incidents.

The allegation came from two election commissioners -- Mahbub Talukder and Rafiqul Islam – who cast votes at separate centres.

No agent of the opposition was seen at Ispahani Girls' School and College in the capital's Moghbazar area where he exercised his franchise around 9:00am, said Mahbub Talukder. He claimed to have received similar accounts from all across the country.

When asked if he found the election to be free and fair, he said, “You better ask your conscience. I don't want to talk about this.”

Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam said he did not see any polling agent of BNP at Lake Circus Girls High School in Kalabagan, where he voted around 9:00am.

He observed three centres including Gonobhaban Government High School in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. None of the centres had any agent of BNP, according to Rafiqul. 

He further told journalists that he was disheartened because the election was tainted by incidents of violence.

The Daily Star correspondents visited around 250 polling centres in Dhaka and found 54 polling agents of BNP.

Meanwhile, Election Commission Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said the election was held across the country amidst festivity and in a peaceful atmosphere with huge participation of voters. He said this in a briefing at the EC Secretariat after voting ended at 4:00pm.

He also assured of investigating all incidents of violence during election that saw deaths of at least 17 people.

“Legal action will be taken after investigating each of the incidents of violence,” he said.

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