Top policymakers of BNP today told diplomats that there is no level-playing field ahead of the elections to the Dhaka north and south city corporations scheduled for February 1.
They said this during a meeting with the diplomatic corps in Dhaka at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office and informed them about the prevailing situation.
The BNP leaders brought allegations of violations of electoral code of conduct by the ruling party’s mayoral candidates and their attacks on BNP’s candidates during their campaigns, said a party insider who was present at the meeting.
They also informed the foreign diplomats that the government is now engaged in harassing the party’s mayoral and councillor candidates in the election by implicating them with politically motivated cases, the source said.
After the meeting, Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury told reporters that his party briefed the diplomatic corps in Dhaka about the country’s prevailing situation including the incidents now taking place centring the city elections.
The foreign diplomats have been informed about the attacks on BNP’s Dhaka South City Corporation mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain and Dhaka North City Corporation candidate Tabith Awal, Amir Khasru said.
In this circumstance, there is no level-playing field to hold the city elections in a free, fair and credible manner and the issue has been elaborately presented before the diplomats, the BNP leader said.
Citing demerits of using the much-talked-about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), BNP drew attention of the diplomats against the Election Commission’s rigid stance of holding the election through using EVMs, Amir Khasru said.
“Using EVMs is a process to snatch people’s voting rights and make the election questionable. It can’t be acceptable by any means,” he added.
Diplomats of at least 20 countries including UK, USA, China, Canada, India, France, Turkey, Germany, Australia and European Union member states took part in the hour-long closed-door meeting that began around 4pm.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, its Standing Committee Members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, and some other top leaders of the party attended the meeting.