Vote fraud this time to trigger public fury: BNP

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Dhaka, Jan 02: BNP senior leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on Thursday said people will sharply react this time if the upcoming city elections are ‘rigged’ like the last general election. “The 11th parliamentary election had irked people…this time they won’t accept if such thing [rigging] happens in the city polls,” he said.

The BNP leader came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after placing wreaths at their party founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave together with the members of Mymensingh south district unit BNP’s newly-formed convening committee.

He said though the elections to two Dhaka city corporations will be participatory ones, their party does not believe the polls will be held in a free and fair manner.

“Everybody knows that the Decembe-30 national election was held on the night of December 29. But we had taken part in the city polls to maintain the democratic trend as we believe in democracy. We’re going to people repeatedly through polls, but the government and the Election Commission are snatching the results in favour of a party by force and indulging in vote robbery,” the BNP leader said.

Mosharraf, a BNP standing committee member, strongly opposed the Election Commission’s (EC’s) decision to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the election. “We’ve been protesting the decision from the very beginning.  We think there’s no need for EVM system in Bangladesh.”

He alleged that the government is trying to use the EVMs to rig votes in a different style as they now fear to stuff ballots the night before the voting day what they did in the ‘December-30 polls’.

“The country’s people are accustomed to casting vote by themselves — in their own hands. So, no machine like EVM is needed in this country. People want to vote in their own hands, not through machines,” the BNP leader added.

He said the EC should back off from its stance on using EVMs in the polls since a major party like BNP has no confidence in it.

Mosharraf said their party also does not trust the ministers’ assertions that the election will be held in a fair and credible manner since the Prime Minister did not kept her words during the general election. “People also don’t trust them.”

He also criticised the government as the cabinet approved the proposed “Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (Amendment) Act-2019” granting the regulatory authority to change gas and electricity prices multiple times in a fiscal year.

The BNP leader said the government has taken the move to exploit people and plunder their money by repeatedly hiking the gas and power tariffs.

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