The BNP claims this occurred at Gazipur and Khulna polling centres—and that many were picked up and harassed by law enforcement
The BNP says one of its major concerns during the upcoming city polls is to make sure its agents are not driven out of the polling stations—like they were in Gazipur and Khulna.
Polls in Rajshahi, Barisal, and Sylhet are scheduled for July 30. There are 138, 123, and 134 polling centres in the three city corporations, respectively.
A polling agent is appointed by a candidate to monitor the voting procedure and count votes in polling centres. Usually, all mayoral and councilor candidates put their agents at every polling station.
The BNP has claimed that its agents were driven out from the centres during the Gazipur and Khulna polls, and that many were picked up and harassed by law enforcement.
The party says it fears the July 30 elections will not be fair if the situation does not change.
Rajshahi and Sylhet’s incumbent mayors Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Ariful Haque Chowdhury have won BNP’s nominations. The party's Joint Secretary-General Mujibur Rahman Sarwar will contest in Barisal.
“The major concern for our party is how to keep agents in polling centres,” said BNP Standing Committee Member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy.
“Irregularities took place in Gazipur and Khulna polls only because BNP agents were kicked out of the centres,” he claimed.
Responding to a query, Gayeshwar said their agents were properly trained and all of them were experienced.
“We are training new agents but there are problems. We cannot sit with 200 agents at a time, as law enforcement picks them up. So we are training them on a small scale,” he added.
BNP Vice-Chairman Selima Rahman said initiatives had been taken to train all the polling agents to help them properly perform their duties during elections.
“We will try to keep two polling agents at every centre. A formal training will be arranged for all of them before the polls,” she added.