Voting in the Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 by-elections will be held on November 12
It is not possible to conduct free and fair elections in Bangladesh as the government holds influence over the Election Commission (EC), BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir claimed on Tuesday.
The BNP leader made the allegation while addressing a press briefing at the party chairperson’s Gulshan political office, arranged ahead of the by-elections in Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 constituencies on Thursday.
Fakhrul said Awami League had destroyed democracy by controlling the electoral system to stay in power.
“The whole electoral system in the country has broken down. They [Awami League] have illegally occupied the parliamentary elections, by-elections and local government elections,” he claimed.
He also said: “Awami League and the Election Commission should learn from the US elections. This is no longer possible with the Election Commission of Bangladesh, it has been ruined. The Awami League government is an illegal government. They have used state institutions to destroy democracy, illegally.
“Miscreants went from house to house in Dhaka, grabbed pistols and told [BNP] leaders' wives not to stay at home. They did not allow him to leave his house in Sirajganj. They are extremely influential, not allowing anyone to run an election campaign. There has been a reign of terror,” Fakhrul added.
He claimed the situation was the same in Dhaka-18 constituency.
“We are still very optimistic, but we are worried the by-elections may be like the elections on the night before 2018, the situation in other by-elections, the situation in the mayoral election. We are very concerned,” Fakhrul said.
In response to a question about the election system, the BNP leader said: “Boycotting the elections, going on strike, resorting to violence - this has become the political culture now. There is no alternative to elections for a democratic party. We have to go to the polls, we have to work. The resistance must be built through the people.”
Amanullah Aman, a member of the BNP chairperson's advisory council and chief coordinator of BNP's election steering committee in the Dhaka-18 constituency, also spoke at the press conference. He alleged various irregularities by supporters of the Awami League candidate in Dhaka-18 constituency. He also gave details of the attack and assault cases.
BNP's Organizing Secretary and Chief Coordinator of the Sirajganj-1 constituency BNP election steering committee Ruhul Quddus Talukder also alleged various irregularities and obstructions in the campaign.