Huda, Hasan decry TIB’s report on election irregularities

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Staff Reporter:

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda and Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday trashed the Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB’s) report over vote fraud in the 11th general election, saying it is not authentic.

“I’m rejecting it completely. It’s not an authentic report,” the CEC told reporters after a programme at the Election Training Institute in the city’s Agargaon area.

The Commission did not receive any such allegation from the media on the voting day, he said when his attention was drawn to the TIB report published on Tuesday.

In its report, TIB labeled the December-30 general election as ‘controversial’ saying that there had been polls irregularities in 47 out of 50 constituencies it surveyed during the election.

About the criticism of the EC’s role by TIB, the CEC said, “These are indecorous and inappropriate. It shouldn’t have said these.”

He, however, said the Commission will not take any step against such remarks.

Claiming that no such election irregularity took place, Nurul Huda said the EC gleaned information from media, its own officials, electoral inquiry committees and magistrates.

The CEC said there is no authenticity of the allegations brought by TIB.

Dismissing the TIB report as ‘questionable and controversial’, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said it is similar to Jatiya Oikyafront’s version. “The version of Jatiya Oikyafront and the TIB report are the same. TIB has published such fabricated report to create an opportunity for the defeated force to talk against the election,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a press briefing at his Dewanji Pukurpar residence in the Chattogram city in the afternoon.

He also said there are some organisations that always work to tarnish the country’s image and TIB is one of them. “Earlier, they (TIB) found corruption in the Padma Bridge project in their report but failed to prove it. They should apologise to the nation for publishing the wrong report,” he said.

Hasan also came down hard on the anti-graft watchdog for not covering the ‘nomination trade’ of BNP in its report.

The TIB on Tuesday said election irregularities took place in 47 out of 50 constituencies it surveyed during the last national election. The constituencies were selected randomly, it said.

It reported the casting of fraudulent votes at one or more centres of 41 constituencies and ballot stuffing in 33 constituencies.

The anti-graft watchdog said polling stations were occupied in 30 constituencies and polling agents obstructed in 29 constituencies. Voters were forced to vote for a particular symbol in 26 constituencies while opposition leaders and activists were beaten up in 11 constituencies.

It recommended appointing honest and neutral people as the chief election commissioner and election commissioners.

The TIB also suggested investigating allegations of violence and breach of electoral code of conduct and taking effective steps based on the findings.
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