12:00 AM, January 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:10 AM, January 17, 2019

CEC blasts TIB polls findings

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda yesterday rejected the Transparency International Bangladesh report on irregularities in the 11th parliamentary polls, terming the report “baseless”.

Besides the CEC, two ministers criticised the report. 

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Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, called the TIB report a “fairy tale”.

Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the TIB report was a “deliberate falsehood” and it echoed the speech of opposition alliance -- Jatiya Oikyafront -- regarding the December 30 polls.    

On Tuesday, the TIB in its study titled “Review of Election Process of 11th National Election” said irregularities took place in 47 out of the 50 constituencies it surveyed. 

It termed the polls “partially participatory, non-competitive, questionable and faulty" and demanded a judicial inquiry into the reported irregularities.

The anti-graft watchdog said ballot papers stamping took place the night before the election in 33 constituencies, stamping ballots openly after occupying booths in 30 seats on the election day and non-availability of ballot papers in 22 constituencies.

The TIB study found ballot boxes filled-up before polling even began in 20 constituencies; voters forced to cast ballots for a particular symbol in 26 constituencies, casting of fake votes in 41 seats, silence of the administration and law enforcing agencies in 42 seats and obstructing and driving out polling agents in 29 seats.

In the 50 constituencies, not all the polling centres necessarily saw the anomalies. Irregularities happened in one or more centres of a seat, the watchdog said.

'IT IS BASELESS'

“We are completely rejecting the TIB report on the election. It is baseless,” the CEC told reporters after an orientation programme of the newly appointed Election Commission officials at the Nirbachon Bhaban in the capital yesterday.

The CEC said there was no similarity of the TIB report with those published in newspapers and accounts of other observers on the voting day.

Information provided by the election enquiry committees, executive magistrates and EC officials and others on the polls also do not match the TIB findings, he said.

The CEC also slammed the TIB's allegation that the EC failed to act neutrally and the role of some polling officers and law enforcement agencies were biased, saying, “The speech is disrespectful ... They should not speak like that.”

He said the commission would not take any step against TIB over its report.

'FAIRY TALE'

“The TIB has come up with the fairy tale long after the election,” Quader told journalists after an extended meeting of Dhaka South City unit Jubo League at AL's central office on the Bangabandhu Avenue.

“The TIB has cooked up so many imaginary and unbelievable stories. The countrymen will give a reply to the report.”

He termed the December 30 election transparent and excellent.

“Did any agent of BNP and Oikyafront candidates make any objection about the transparency of the election on the voting day?” Quader questioned.   

HASAN BINS REPORT

In another development, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said, “There is no difference between the TIB    report and the speech of the Oikyafront. In fact, the TIB just published a report in favour of BNP and Jamaat-Shibir.”

He was addressing a press conference in his Dewanji Pukur Par lane house in the port city yesterday, reports a staff correspondent in Chattogram.

The minister added that though the TIB usually claimed that its reports were based on research findings. But in fact, no proper research was actually done. 


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