Bangladesh poll: Zia asks party leaders for `vote rigging’ evidence

January 1st, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 1 (IANS) The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which has repeatedly called the Dec 29, 2008 poll as “farcical and stage-managed”, has asked its leaders to send evidence of vote rigging amid indications that party chief Begum Khaleda Zia may opt for confrontation over the resultsn that have decimated her party.Some aides of BNP chief and former prime minister Zia advised her to congratulate her political arch-rival Sheikh Hasina after Awami League’s landslide victory in the election, and to accept the poll result. But she did not pay any heed to it, The Daily Star newspaper said, quoting unnamed party insiders.

She chided her team of strategists, many of them retired civil and military officials, for “wrong strategy” and for “misleading” her at the closed-door meetings she has been having since her party got 29 seats and the alliance partner another three seats out of 299. Her main rival Sheikh Hasina has regained power with a landslide victory.

BNP has asked its grassroots leaders to send evidence of ‘vote rigging’ in Monday’s general election to the party chairperson’s office on the basis of which it will decide the next course of action.

“We are yet to decide on taking a hard line on issues like oath taking of members and participation in parliament session,” BNP standing committee member R.A. Ghani told the newspaper.

“We have asked the party men across the country to send evidence of vote rigging to work out our next course of action,” said M. Shamsul Islam, another standing committee member.

In presence of Khaleda Zia, party leaders and activists Tuesday blasted some members of the committee that worked out the poll strategy.

She has been severely critical of those who advised her to opt for elections at a time when she had threatened a boycott.

The party must now decide on whether to participate in the upazila (sub-district) polls scheduled later this month.

“I think the party high command will not restrain upazila level leaders who wish to participate in the election,” said a party official whom the newspaper did not name.

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