The Election Commission yesterday said the Khulna city polls were peaceful and excellent.
The ruling Awami League also termed the election peaceful, but its archrival BNP said it was nothing but a farce.
EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said, “Polling in three out of 289 voting centres was postponed. The voting was peaceful in the rest of the centres. We monitored the election in various ways. It was an excellent election which was held in a festive mood.”
Talking to reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital, he said following allegations raised by the BNP, the EC examined the issues with the help of its field-level officials.
No irregularities happened at the polling centres, except for the three, Helaluddin claimed.
Asked if allegations of rigging and vandalism in the Khulna City Corporation (KCC) polls would cause fear in voters' mind ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for December, he refused to make any comment.
“The focus of all the attention is now on Khulna. This is a local body election. The Election Commission is satisfied with what has happened,” he added.
After the AL mayoral candidate Talukder Abdul Khaleque clinched a victory unofficially, party General Secretary Obaidul Quader criticised the BNP for “misleading people's opinion” and asked it to take lessons from the KCC polls.
Addressing a press conference at the AL president's Dhanmondi office last night, he said, “The victory of Awami League in the Khulna City Corporation mayoral polls is an outcome of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's achievement in development. The BNP should take lessons from the election.”
Meanwhile, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir last night said no credible election could be held under the present government.
“No election will be allowed to be held unless Khaleda Zia is freed from jail. No election can be held in a transparent and credible manner under the present government and that has been proven through the Khulna city polls.”
Fakhrul was addressing a post-polls press conference at the party chairperson's Gulshan office. Terming the EC “failed and ineligible”, he blasted the commission for its failure in arranging the city polls in a free, fair and credible manner.
He called upon the government to dissolve Jatiya Sangshad and start talks with the stakeholders on holding the next general election in a fair manner.
Earlier in the day, AL Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak said the election was held peacefully. He alleged that BNP leaders were spreading falsehood over the KCC polls fearing defeat of their mayoral candidate.
“The BNP leaders are spreading falsehood as they are sure of the defeat of their mayor candidate,” he told reporters at the AL president's Dhanmondi office.
BNP Senior Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed blasted the Khulna district administration for “helping the influential quarter of the AL in rigging polls in favour of its mayor candidate” and termed the KCC polls a farce.
He made the comments at a press conference at the party's Nayapaltan central office soon after the voting ended.
Rizvi criticised the Khulna police commissioner for “playing a role in favour of the AL mayor candidate”.