Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan), a civil society platform for good governance, yesterday alleged that the recently held three city corporation elections to Barisal, Sylhet and Rajshahi were “government-controlled”.
The Election Commission (EC) should play a stronger role for holding a free and fair national election, said Badiul Alam Majumder, secretary of Sujan.
“The polls that were held on July 30 failed to meet our expectations,” he said, asking the EC to take coordinated plans ahead of the upcoming national election.
The press conference titled, “What kind of public representatives we have got in Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations' polls”, was held at Dhaka Reporters' Unity.
Badiul suggested that the EC take opinions of all concerned stakeholders including the government, political parties, EC officials, law enforcement agencies, media and civil society to strike a coordinated plan for future elections.
He also suggested the government sign a memorandum of understanding with the political parties for creating a secure environment in the country before and after the national polls.
Sujan's central Convener Dilip Kumar Sarkar read out a paper in which he elaborated the socio-economic backgrounds of mayors and councillors of Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations.
He said the “Khulna Model” was followed in the Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporation polls. In Khulna City Corporation election, the main opposition was driven out with the help of law enforcement agencies, polling agents of BNP were barred to carry out their duties and the EC played a silent role, he added.
“Apart from that, voters were held hostage by giving them bait of development,” he said, adding that voters were told if they do not vote for the ruling party, development will be stalled.
Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal city corporation polls were held on July 30, 2018. Awami League mayoral runner AHM Khairuzzaman Liton won the RCC polls while BNP candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury won the SCC election.
The EC is investigating the irregularities that took place during BCC election, and its result is yet to be declared officially.