BNP rejects polls results
The BNP has rejected the results of yesterday's municipal polls, alleging widespread vote-rigging, ballot-stuffing and capture of more than a thousand polling stations by the ruling party men.
The party reached the decision at a meeting last night at BNP chief Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office, hours after the voting ended.
Earlier in a post-polls reaction, the BNP demanded fresh elections to around 157 municipalities for “widespread electoral irregularities.”
The hour-long meeting at Khaleda's office, starting at 9:00pm, also discussed a demonstration in protest at yesterday's “farcical” and “stage-managed” polls, said meeting sources.
The party would formally announce its decision about rejecting the election results this morning, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters after the meeting.
Later, Khaleda met the chiefs of some components of the BNP-led 20-party alliance.
In both the meetings, the coalition leaders demanded resignation of the chief election commissioner, said sources.
The combine plans to hold a rally in the capital on the second anniversary of last year's January 5 national elections that it boycotted.
Earlier in the day, Fakhrul at a briefing at Khaleda's Gulshan office, said, “As per the information we have received so far, more than 1,000 polling centres were captured in 157 municipalities. The figure will be much higher and the number of municipalities will be at least 200 where ballot box-stuffing took place. We still did not get the complete scenario of the elections.”
He said BNP candidates did not get any remedy despite repeatedly lodging complaints with the EC throughout the day.
“We demand fresh elections at the centres where the ruling party indulged in vote rigging, forcing our agents out.
“We earlier had said the election would not be free and fair. It was a farcical and stage-managed election. The polls results were pre-set.
“The polls have once again proved no election can be free and fair under Awami League,” Fakhrul added.
Jatiya Party, the main opposition in parliament that contested the polls in 76 municipalities, also demanded fresh elections to 26 municipalities, citing similar reasons.
“Overall, the municipality polls were not held in a free and fair manner. Sporadic incidents of violence took place in the polls for which the ruling Awami League should be blamed,” JP Senior Joint Secretary General Rejaul Islam said at a post-poll press conference at the party's Kakrail central office.
He alleged that AL men captured polling centres and drove out their polling agents from different centres in 26 municipalities.
Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal, Khelafat Majlish, and Tarikat Federation that contested the polls in one municipality each also alleged that the EC had once again failed to win people's confidence in it.
Three BNP teams led by three senior leaders were present at the commission throughout the voting hours and filed a series of complaints with it.