BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said the Election Commission (EC) should resign right now shouldering the responsibility for "corruption, incompetence and failures".
“The eminent intellectuals of the country think that the Election Commission has become corrupt. They also think this Commission is incompetent and failed one. So, they should step down immediately,” he said.
Talking to reporters at his residence here, the BNP leader said, “The delay in resigning by the Election Commission has exposed that they've no sense of self-esteem. They should not be there in office anymore.”
About municipality polls, Fakhrul said they have come to know that many polling stations were captured by ruling party leaders and activists at different parts of the country, including in Pabna and Panchagarh.
He opposed the use of the Election Voting Machines (EBMs) in local body elections. “EVM is not a suitable system for a country like Bangladesh. We’ve already said there’s a motive behind taking EVMs to the local level.”
The BNP leader said no 'receipt' paper is given after casting vote through EVMs in Bangladesh like other countries in the world.
"There’s no chance to know whether the voting was done properly through EVMs or not. A voter can’t verify whether his vote is given for his preferred candidate. In that case, there's plenty of room for indulging in vote rigging,” he observed.
Criticising his ruling party counterpart Obaidul Quader for his remark that BNP’s popularity has seriously diminished, Fakhrul said people’s will be reflected if a fair election is held under a neutral government.
BNP on Monday alleged that ruling party ‘cadres’ engaged in vote ‘robbery’ by ‘capturing’ most polling stations during elections to 24 municipalities at different parts of the country.
“Elections to 24 municipalities were held amid bloodbath and vote robbery as in the past. We’ve got information Awami cadres carried out violence in most electoral areas with the help of the administration,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also alleged that the supporters of the ruling party candidates recklessly attacked voters and BNP leaders and activists to maintain the “hard-hitting” image of the government.
“We strongly condemn and protest the incidents that took place in today's (Monday’s) municipal elections. The voters were deprived of exercising their rights,” he said.
Rizvi said the supporters of Awami League candidates drove out the agents of BNP contestants from polling stations and obstructed voters from going there.
“They (AL) supporters established a reign of terror in the election areas by launching attacks on our leaders and activists and thus captured almost all the polling stations,” he alleged.
The BNP leader said the law enforcers and the local administration played the role of a silent spectators allowing the ruling party supporters to indulge in vote ‘rigging’.
About the price hike, Rizvi said the government has lost control over markets.
Referring to the Agriculture Minister’s comment that millers and wholesalers are raising the price of rice through tricks, he said, “People don’t think that there’s any government in the country. The prices of the essentials, including rice, pulses and oil, are growing every day, inflicting immense sufferings on the low- and middle-income people.”
Rizvi alleged that the ruling-party business syndicates are hiking the prices of daily essentials through manipulating the market. “It’s heard that the money of the syndicate also goes to ministers. So, the market has become uncontrollable.”
Bangladesh’s judiciary is working without government interference in the higher and lower courts.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said this on Sunday in response to BNP’s allegations that the government is using the courts.
Also read: Govt fooling people about development: BNP
“The government never gets in the way of the judicial process as it respects the law. But BNP uses a double standard when it comes to the law and court,” Quader said.
“When BNP wins a case, it says the judiciary is working independently. But when the party loses, it talks about government intervention in the judicial process.”
Calling upon the government to empower public representatives, Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Sunday bemoaned that politicians are now getting sidelined in politics due to the active role of bureaucrats.
“Politicians are not that much active in politics these days. Bureaucrats are playing in the field of politics while politicians watching it sitting on the sidelines,” he said.
GM Quader made the remarks while speaking at a programme arranged by Jatiya Party’s Khulna divisional unit at its chairman’s Banani office.
As per the constitution, he said the country is supposed to be run by elected public representatives. “But the secretaries, not MPs, now carry out all the activities while the ministers just get briefings.”
The Jatiya Party chief said public representatives can ensure the welfare and benefits of people as they understand their sufferings and pains.
Also read: No business over Covid vaccine: GM Quader
“Bureaucrats are like robots... theyr'e accustomed to working within a boundary... they're unable to understand the plight of ordinary people like politicians,” he observed.
GM Quader called upon the Prime Minister to evaluate the elected representatives as people will immensely be benefited if their representatives get the opportunity to work for them. “It’ll never be useful to govern the country with bureaucrats ignoring the public representatives.”
He said the UNOs now do not care the upazila chairmen as they run the upazila parishads as per their whims. “The upazila parishad chairmen have nothing to do if the UNOs ignore them and their instructions. If the public representatives cannot run the country, it's unconstitutional.”
During his rule, the Jatiya Party chief said their party founder HM Ershad empowered the public representatives by running the country under their leadership. The bureaucrats worked under the Upazila Parishad and Zila Parishad chairmen during his rule. But now everything has turned upside down.”
Also read: AL, BNP failed to curb corruption: GM Quader
BNP on Sunday alleged that circuses are jointly being staged by the government and the Election Commission (EC) in the country in the name of elections.
“The Awami League government has now become desperate. They don’t allow holding participatory elections. They repress if anyone from the opposition parties dares to be there in any election race,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he said, “Election circuses are now underway jointly produced by the midnight government and the shameless Election Commission.”
After any polls, the BNP leader said, both the government and the EC talk in the same tune that the election was fair though the voters denied casting votes.
He came up with the remarks condemning an attack on Habiza Begum, former ward councillor of Tangail’s Gopalpur municipality, allegedly by the ruling party men, leaving her critically injured, centring the municipality polls.
Rizvi said the ruling party let loose its cadres across the country to attack the campaigns of opposition candidates. “Habiza Begum subjected to such an attack by them.”
Also read: Govt fooling people about development: BNP
He demanded the government arrest the attackers of Habiza and mete out exemplary punishment to them.
The BNP leader said civil society members’ demand for forming a supreme judicial council to punish the current EC is a justified one since no fair election was held under it. “But now the Chief Election Commissioner and the Awami League leaders are trying to hush the truth by force.”
Being a constitutional body, he said the Election Commission should earn the confidence of all parties. “But why does Awami League only like the EC? Awami League likes the EC as it justified all the misdeeds of the party regarding destroying election system and annihilating democracy.”
About the ongoing municipal polls, Rizvi said the ruling party supports are not allowing BNP candidates to carry out electioneering and they are threatening voters not to go to the polling stations to ensure the victory of their candidates without voting.
Also read: BNP to stage nationwide demo on Dec 30