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BNP, Oikya Front file 80 cases in election tribunal, no cases by top leaders

  • Published at 11:14 am February 24th, 2019
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File photo: From left, Jatiya Oikya Front’s top leaders Kader Siddique, ASM Abdur Rab, the platform’s chief Dr Kamal Hossain and Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a rally in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

BNP aimed to file at least one representative case from each district 

At least 80 BNP and Jatiya Oikya Front candidates have filed cases with the election tribunal at High Court, challenging the results of the 11th general election.

They cited “vote robbery” and “rigging” as core reasons behind challenging the victory of the elected candidates from the ruling coalition.

However, none of the BNP or Oikya Front top leaders filed any cases, though the move to resort to the High Court was a decision made by them.

Advocate Zainul Abedin, who is representing the BNP candidates, said 80 cases had been filed as of February 14.

Shairul Kabir Khan, member of the BNP chairperson's media wing, said the BNP high command had already formed a committee of lawyers to supervise the cases.

In addition to advocate Zainul Abedin, other members of the committee include: Barrister Ruhul Kuddus Kajal, Barrister Aminul Haque, Nitai Roy Chowdhury, Mir Nasir Uddin, Fazlur Rahman and Barrister Rajib Pradhan.

According to the Representation of the People Order (RPO), cases ought to be filed within 45 days of the announcement of results. However, the court can extend the time considering the reasons, said Ruhul Kuddus, who is mainly looking at the cases of Dhaka and Sylhet divisions.

In the parliamentary elections held on December 30 last year, a discussion was held in the party’s forum regarding filing cases against irregularities and fraud. Later, BNP and Oikya Front submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission on January 3 demanding re-election.

Reasons cited for the cases

The opposition candidates have cited a number of reasons in their complaints, including attacks on candidates before and after the elections, as well as ghost cases, said the lawyers supervising the cases.

“We have also brought specific allegations to the court that we have received from our candidates against the victory of the ruling party candidates in each constituency,” said Ruhul Kuddus.

Zahir Uddin Swapon from Barisal 1 has submitted a photocopy of the election result of the constituency to the court.

According to him, about 90-95% votes cast in many of the polling centres included votes in the names of deceased voters.

The first case to the election tribunal was filed by Gono Forum’s leader advocate Subrata Chowdhury, a candidate of Jatiya Oikya Front for the Dhaka 6 constituency.

Ruhul Kuddus Kajal said: “In some centers the BNP candidates got zero votes. Even 100% of votes have been cast in many booths, which is absolutely impossible, and we will raise all these irregularities in court.”

In addition, the election commission and the returning officers have also been accused in these cases.

Saiful Islam Firoz from Jhenaidah 4, Abul Kalam Azad Siddique from Tangail 7, Zahir Uddin Swapon from Barisal 1, Shah Riazul Hannan from Gazipur 4, Naser Rahman from Moulvibazar 3, Abdul Hai from Munshiganj and Hafiz Ibrahim from Bhola 2, Mainul Islam Shanto from Manikganj 2, Ashraf Uddin from Narsingdi 5, Nazrul Islam Azad from Narayanganj 2, Nabi Ullah Nabi from Dhaka 5 and Irfan Ibne Aman Omi from Dhaka 2 filed cases, among others.

In order to prove “vote robbery” and irregularities, proofs such as written documents have been collected and which will be presented in court, said Zainul Abedin who is mainly looking at the cases from Barisal.

Earlier on February 9, BNP made the decision to file cases from all 64 districts at the election tribunal of High Court.

Replying to a query as to why BNP top leaders are not filing cases, Standing Committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said the party had the target of filing at least one case from each district which will act as the representative.