Defeated AL man alleges rigging in Barhatta UZ poll
Defeated Awami League (AL) backed chairman candidate for Barhatta upazila parishad Principal Golam Rasul Talukder yesterday alleged that his rival candidate Mainul Haque Kashem won the election race with the help of local administration and police.
Speaking at a press conference at Netrakona Press Club yesterday Rasul, also vice-president of the district unit of AL, alleged that incidents of vote rigging and stuffing of ballot papers occurred in some 20 centres to ensure his defeat.
He also alleged that the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) in Barhatta and officer in charge of the police station concerned put a bar on his election campaign on March 8, where central and district AL leaders were scheduled to attend.
“Though long queues of voters were seen at different polling centres, many could not cast their votes,” he alleged, adding that when voters protested the incident the on-duty policemen charged baton on them.
He also brought allegation of anomalies against the on duty election officials during the counting of votes.
Demanding recounting of votes, Principal Rasul alleged that the on-duty election officials and policemen favoured his rival candidate in exchange of huge bribes.
Refuting the allegations, Kashem, also an executive committee member of district AL, said he faced serious obstacles while conducting his election campaign, adding that even his men were attacked at different places.
“Being an independent candidate do I have any scope to influence the administration?” Kashem questioned.
Officer in Charge (OC) of Barhatta Police Station Badrul Alam Khan said there were no anomalies in the voting.
Brushing aside Rasul's allegations, Barhatta UNO Farida Yeasmin said the election was held in a free and fair environment.
Kashem, who got 33,781 votes, won the election by defeating Rasul, who obtained 26,597 votes, the UNO said, adding that if there was any irregularities how could Rasul get that much votes.
Away in Habiganj, a case has been filed in connection with a clash between two groups of Awami League (AL) over attempting to hijack ballots at Shahpur Government Primary School centre in Baniachang upazila, reports our Moulvibazar correspondent.
Presiding Officer Jahir Alam filed the case with Baniachang Police Station on Monday, Officer in Charge (OC) of the police station Rashed Mobarak said.
Jahir filed the case against 20 to 25 people, including Mizu Chowdhury, Hormuz Ali, Humayun Rashid, Afzal Chowdhury and Ataur Rahman, bringing allegation of assaulting on duty policemen, officials concerned and attempting to rob ballot boxes, the OC said, adding that they were conducting drives to arrest the accused.
Earlier, on March 9, seven people, including two policemen, were injured in a clash between two factions of the ruling AL at Shahpur Government Primary School centre.
Of the injured, Constable Jamal Uddin of Baniachang Police Station, who received stab injuries, was flown to Dhaka by a helicopter on Sunday night, Habiganj Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ullah said.
Following the clash, voting was halted at Shahpur poling centre, Jahir said.