The main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front on Thursday decided to move the High Court against ‘cruel fraudulence’ and massive vote rigging in the 11th parliamentary elections on December 30, 2018.
Each of the front candidates would file election petition with the High Court along with documents of vote rigging and irregularities, front leaders said.
They said that the decision was made at a meeting of the candidates, who contested the polls with Bangladesh Nationalist Party electoral symbol ‘sheaf of paddy’, at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
The meeting was convened to collect documents of irregularities in the elections marred by reported widespread vote rigging, intimidation, capture of polling stations, ouster of the opposition polling agents and stuffing of ballot boxes.
The front got only seven seats — five from BNP and two from its ally Gono Forum — while the ruling Awami League and its allies took 288 of the 298 seats, where elections were held.
After the meeting, a 15-member delegation of the front led by its spokesperson and BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission seeking fresh elections under a non-party administration cancelling the December 30 elections.
The front also decided that their seven elected candidates would not take oath as lawmakers.
After the meeting, Mirza Fakhrul told reporters, ‘The December 30 election was an event of cruel fraudulence and farcical.’
Flanked by front leaders, including Mostofa Moshin Montu and Subrata Chowdhury, Fakhrul said that all of their candidates would file election petitions to the election tribunal detailing allegations of irregularities in the elections.
He said, ‘We have already rejected the polls results and demanding re-elections under a neutral government and we are clearly informing you that we [elected candidates] are not going to take oath.’
Meeting sources said that 174 candidates attended the meeting, presided by Fakhrul.
Candidates and leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a key ally of BNP, were not present at the meeting.
The two elected candidates of the Gono Forum were also absent from the meeting.
In the meeting, a number of BNP candidates wanted to express their views over the polls but they were not allowed, said a BNP candidate present in the meeting.
He said that Fakhrul told them that a meeting of BNP candidates would be convened after consulting jailed party chairperson Khaleda Zia shortly where everyone could make their statements in an open mind.
All the candidates of the Oikya Front were scheduled to go to the Election Commission for submission of the memorandum, but in the meeting Fakhrul said that a team would go to the commission without explaining the reason.
Huge police and army troops and border guards were deployed in and around the Election Commission.
As some BNP candidates wanted to know why the party did not boycott the elections two or three days before the polls, Fakhrul said such matters would be discussed in BNP’s meeting, the meeting sources said.
No discussion was held in the meeting over next programme, a BNP leader said, adding that Fakhrul asked them to maintain unity in the party and hold patience.
The secretary general told the meeting that the party would communicate with other parties and alliances outside the front, including the Left Democratic Alliance and the Islami Andolan Bangladesh who rejected the poll results to expand the front, the sources said.
After submitting the memorandum to the chief election commissioner, Fakhrul told reporters that the front enclosed with the memorandum some documents of ‘vote rigging’ and they would submit more documents later.
The allegations included stuffing of ballot boxes at the night before the polling, intimidation and arrest of polling agents, barring polling agents from entering the polling stations, 100 per cent turnout at some polling stations, indifference of election officials, administration and law enforcers against vote rigging, keeping executive magistrates and troops inactive and muscle wielding of ruling Awami League activists to obstruct voters.
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