The BNP on Friday accused the government of vote fraud in the elections to city corporations and announced to hold public rallies in six cities, demanding fair and credible polls.
BNP’s defeated mayoral candidates in different cities came up with the announcement at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club, reports UNB.
“We’ve decided to hold six rallies in as many city corporations to inform the people about vote rigging. We want to tell the people about their voting rights and urge them to restore democracy,” said BNP Joint Secretary General Mujibur Rahman Sarwar, who contested the Barisal City Corporation polls as BNP’s mayoral candidate in 2018.
He said their party’s first rally will be held in Chattogram on February 13 while the second one in Barishal on February 18, the third one in Khulna on February 27, the fourth one in Rajshahi on March 1, the fifth one in Dhaka north city on March 3 and the last one in Dhaka south city the next day.
Referring to Prime Minister’s recent remark on the importance of having a strong opposition for the sake of democracy, Sarwar urged the government not to obstruct them from reaching out to people and holding the rallies.
He said their main demand is to restore people’s voting rights through holding a credible election under a non-party administration.
Apart from Sarwar, BNP’s four other defeated mayoral candidates – Chattogram’s Dr Shahadat Hossain, Rajshahi’s Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul, Dhaka North’s Tabith Awal and Dhaka South’s Ishraque Hossain – were present at the press conference.
Sarwar said though Khulna’s Nazrul Islam Monju was not present at the meeting, he expressed his solidarity with them.
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was also present at the press conference.
Dr Shahadat Hossain said they had an expectation that good sense would prevail upon the government to hold a neutral election in Chattogram. “But we saw the state machinery, administration, Awami League and the government worked together in Chattogram City Corporation Polls (to rig votes),” he said.
Assuring that BNP's rallies in six cities will be held peacefully, Shahadat said they will appeal to people at the rallies to unite in favour of their demand for holding the elections under a neutral and acceptable body.
Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul said they want to involve people with their struggle for ensuring fair election and ‘restoring’ voting rights through the rallies.
Tabith Awal said people are being forced to show apathy to elections by staging ‘farce’ in the name of polls. “We must restore voting rights and democracy by creating public opinion.”
Ishraque said the results will be unchanged even if 1,000 elections are held under the current government. “That’s why we must bring back the caretaker government system.”
They also narrated their experiences and various allegations of vote rigging in their respective cities during the elections.