The BNP yesterday said it would not take part in any elections, including the upcoming upazila and city corporation polls, under the incumbent government.
The party alleged that a free and fair election is not possible under this government and the Election Commission.
“So our party has decided not to participate in the upazila and city corporation elections,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told journalists after the party's standing committee meeting at its chairperson's Gulshan office last night.
“Any polls under this Election Commission and government would be nothing but farcical,” he said.
Following the ruling Awami League's landslide victory in the December 30 polls, the BNP alleged that the Awami League won the election through massive vote rigging.
The AL, however, said people rejected the BNP by “casting their votes”.
The BNP's decision comes amid its grassroots leaders and activists demand for boycotting the forthcoming polls.
“We told our leaders to boycott polls as our sufferings and the numbers of cases filed against us would increase if we take part in them,” Azizur Rahman Anju, president of Chandgaon union BNP in Netrakona, told The Daily Star on Wednesday on the High Court premises.
He went to the HC for bail in eight cases filed against him after the announcement of the schedule of the parliamentary polls.
Like him, several hundred grassroots leaders from different districts thronged the court for the last couple of days for bail in cases filed for attacking cops, vandalising AL election campaigning offices, assembling on the roads unlawfully and other reasons.
The BNP terms all those false cases.
This correspondent talked to more than 50 union and Thana level BNP leaders. All of them echoed Azizur's view.
Many of them said it was not possible to campaign as they were on the run fearing arrest.
“My family asked me to quit politics or to become inactive ... campaigning for upazila election is quite impossible,” Mohammad Hossain, a BNP leader and former commissioner of Ward-2 of Kanchan municipality in Narayanganj, told The Daily Star recently.
Talking to this newspaper over the phone yesterday afternoon, Noldanga Upazila chairman Shakhawat Hossain, said, “Many field level leaders and activists requested me to avoid the upazila election [in Natore] and I sent the message to our leaders.”
The mayoral by-polls to Dhaka North City Corporation will be held on February 28 while the election in 480 out of the 492 upazilas will be held in five phases starting from March 8 or 9.