BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday firmly said they would stay in the battle for ballots till its conclusion.“We are participating in the polls as part of our democratic movement,” she said she said while addressing a crowded press conference at her political office in Gulshan hours before the election campaign ends midnight on Monday.
She called upon the people to resist the ruling party attempts to cast their evil influence on the voting saying that the united power of people is enough to foil any evil design of any authoritarian ruler.
The former premier called upon the people to vote for the party mayoral candidates fighting with BNP poll symbol “sheaf of paddy” in the Wednesday’s municipal elections to play their roles in restoring their rights for franchise.
“I urge the countrymen to go to the polling centres in en masse and to try to protect the dignity of ballots by casting of your votes with all your might,” she said.
Khaleda argued that those who had snatched your voting rights and forced your elected representatives through their machination do not have the rights to seek your votes again
The BNP had boycotted the January 5 general polls.
She alleged that all arrangements have been completed to make the forthcoming municipal polls a farcical one.
The BNP chief reiterated the party demand to deploy army for the sake of holding the civic polls in a free and fair manner.
She justified that deployment of army has become imperative in a vulnerable situation following attacks on opposition candidates, their party offices, killing of supporters, obstructing their campaign, threatening them and carrying out random arrest.
“We don’t know, what kind of situation would prevail upon the Election Commission to deploy the army,” she said.
“Country’s administration and law enforcing agencies cannot work were unable to work independently due to the influence of the ruling party. The situation has made it imperative to deploy the army in the interest of holding the fair polls,” she added.
Khaleda alleged that the government is holding the civic polls under party symbol to overcome its crisis of credibility as they want to show the people and the world community that they have popularity also.
The BNP chief did not take any question apparently to avoid any controversial question of her recent remark on the number of martyrs of liberation war and the party’s possible programme on 2nd anniversary of January 5 general elections.
She regretted that they wanted to run a TV commercial on the municipal pools but failed to air it as not TV channel dare to run it due to indirect pressure from the government.
The BNP leader further alleged that machinations are going on to prevent journalists from the mass media to discharge their duties professionally while covering the municipal polls.
“The Election Commission has imposed restriction on the entrance of journalists from the mass media in the polling centres…The government is controlling the alternative media and intervening on the social media and communication networks including facebook and tweeters,” she said.
She alleged that the ruling party terrorists are manoeuvring with arms in electoral areas and carrying out armed attacks and threatening to occupy polling centres but no measure are being taken against them.
Khaleda also accused the ministers and ruling party lawmakers of violating electoral code of conducts and said the EC is discharging its responsibility only by issuing show cause notices and expressing regrets, she added.
She termed the EC’s appeal to the Prime Minister for her intervention to prevent the violation of electoral code of conducts as its incapability and helplessness to hold a free and fair poll.
In her half an hour written statement, Khaleda alleged that opposition leaders were obstructed to take part in the civic polls, she said opposition candidates were allowed to submit nomination papers and many of them were forced to withdraw their nominations and run away from the race in many places.
“Under this process at least seven mayoral candidates and 132 councillor candidates have been declared elected unopposed,” she claimed.
The former premier expressed her deep concern over recent incidents of hit and runs on people of different opinion, attacks on mosques and religious gathering.
She put emphasis on the need for facing such dangers unitedly and creating a national consensus.
“I call upon all to remain alert on the alarming trend and dangerous incidents around us so that no anarchic situation is created,” she added.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, ASM Hannan Shah, Goyeshwar Chandra Roy of BNP, Abdul Halim of Jamaat-e-Islami, Shafiul Alam Prodhan of Jagpa, Andalib Rahman Partha of BJP, Mostafa Jamal Haider of Jatiya Party (Kazi Zafar), Mojibur Rahman Peshwari of IOJ and other 20-party leaders were present on the occasion.