Bangladesh’s main Opposition BNP rejects Sunday’s ‘dummy polls’, demands fresh elections

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s main opposition BNP, which boycotted Sunday’s general elections swept by Sheikh Hasina’s party, on Monday demanded the cancellation of the “dummy election” and the prime minister’s resignation, questioning the accuracy of the voter turnout. To mobilise public support for their demands, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party announced a two-day mass contact programme on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The party also renewed its demand for a fresh election under a non-party polls-time government to establish a legitimate and accountable government.
Hasina’s Awami League party won 223 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. Election was held for 299 seats The election to one seat will be held later due to the death of a candidate.
The main opposition in Parliament, the Jatiya Party, got 11 seats, Bangladesh Kallyan party won in one constituency while independent candidates came out victorious in 62 seats. Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and the Workers Party of Bangladesh won one seat each.
Bangladesh’s Election Commission on Monday said 41.8 per cent of the voters turned out to cast their votes.
“According to the final count, the figure stands at 41.8 per cent,” Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal told a news briefing at his office, adding if anyone doubts the number “you are most welcome to challenge it”.
The BNP boycotted the elections and observed a strike on Sunday.
Nazrul Islam Khan, another BNP standing committee member, said their party wanted to establish a government elected by people’s vote and accountable to them.
“A free and fair election is necessary for that, and that didn’t happen yesterday. So, people have turned down this election. Everyone is saying the voter turnout which was shown was fake,” he said.
“So, BNP and other political parties who are on a movement for the restoration of democracy demand the immediate cancellation of the dummy election of January 7, resignation of Sheikh Hasina and formation of a polls-time non-party neutral government for holding a national election,” Nazrul said.
He also said people’s ownership of the state must be restored and all enforced disappearance, killing, and ghost cases must be stopped and people will have to be protected from his repressive regime.
“These are now people’s demands. We congratulate and thank people as they made sacrifices in the face of various pressures and allurements and foiled the government’s evil efforts to show a huge turnout by taking them to the voting centres.
BNP Standing Committee member Abdul Moyeen Khan said the country’s people unilaterally and spontaneously rejected Sunday’s election.
On behalf of the parties that called for boycotting the polls, he congratulated the people of the country for turning down the election.
He also said the government failed to take voters to the polling stations despite various threats and intimidation.
“There was no voting and election on January 7. What happened was vote robbery and vote rigging,” the BNP leader said.
The party has been saying no election under the current government would be fair and credible. Source

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