Third-phase polls 'fairer'
The Election Commission and the ruling Awami League claimed that the third phase Union Parishad elections were free and fair while the BNP expressed frustration over the polls.
At a post-polls briefing yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed said people had cast their votes in 620 union parishads of 46 districts this time in a congenial atmosphere compared to the first two phases.
Irregularities and violent activities in the latest polls were fewer than before, he said.
Large-scale violence did not take place since special measures had been taken to ensure transparency, the CEC said, adding, "We are expecting that the next polls will also be held in a congenial atmosphere."
About BNP's allegation of vote rigging by the AL, he said every party had its own perception and that the EC had sought political parties' corporation in bringing down the incidents of violence.
Meanwhile, at a press conference at the BNP headquarters in the capital's Nayapaltan, party Senior Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed said the third phase UP polls were marked by widespread vote rigging and other irregularities by AL men.
Massive stuffing of ballots, intimidation and violence took place during yesterday's elections like in the previous polls, he said.
“That [vote rigging] did not come as a surprise to the people of the country as they noticed violence and vote rigging in all the elections held under the Awami League.”
The EC did not take any measure to contain violence by “AL goons” because its officials did not want to lose their jobs.
Meeting EC officials after the voting ended, BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan also said violence and stuffing of ballots were as widespread as in the previous phases.
Meanwhile, at the party president's Dhanmondi office, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the third phase UP polls were held in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
"Some stray incidents have taken place in one or two centres... those are insignificant.”
Next elections will also be held in a free, fair and credible manner under the present government and the EC, Hanif said, adding that the BNP had tried to create anarchy and blame it on the AL rebels but that effort was foiled.
Brotee, an election observer group, said yesterday's polls was comparatively peaceful while the number and intensity of violence and clashes were fewer, although the violence could not be avoided.
In a statement, the organisation said this time the EC had taken prompt action against irregularities and thus created positive atmosphere. It also said there were several instances of irregularities, including staffing ballot, casting fake votes, snatching ballot papers and clashes, during the polls.