By-polls to Dhaka-18, Sirajganj marred by ‘fraud’: BNP

BNP on Thursday alleged that voters could not cast votes in the by-polls to Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 as ruling party men captured most polling stations and resorted to various irregularities.

“Ruling party cadres captured 203 polling stations in Dhaka-18 by-polls by driving out the agents of BNP candidates within half an hour of the start of voting,” said BNP’s acting office secretary Syed Emran Saleh Prince.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also said the BNP agents were beaten while common voters were threatened and obstructed from going to polling stations. “The same situation was there in Sirajganj-1 by-polls.”

Prince said law enforcers and presiding and polling officers played the role of silent spectators as the supporters of ruling party candidates resorted to vote fraud. “They helped ruling party cadres in many cases.”

He alleged that the ruling party haired goons and used them to capture polling stations and obstruct the common voters.

The BNP leader said the ruling party men also forced many people to cast votes for ‘boat’ by establishing their control over the voting booths.

He alleged that though they lodged various complaints with the Election Commission against the irregularities, no action was taken in this regard.

Price said the ruling party has established a reign of terror in the election areas flexing their muscles and deprived people of their democratic rights of casting votes.

He warned that both the current government and the Election Commission will have to be accountable to people one day for snatching their voting rights and destroying the country’s election system.

The voting of the by-polls to the Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 seats began at 9am and ended at 5pm.