Bangladesh polls: Opposition storms out of Election Commission meeting

PTI
Dhaka, Bangladesh Published: Dec 25, 2018, 09:16 PM(IST)

File photo of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photograph:( Reuters )

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In the meeting, the alliance also raised the issue of debarring it from holding its wrap up election rally in the capital. 

Members of Bangladesh's opposition BNP-NUF alliance on Tuesday walked out of an Election Commission meeting, alleging that the behaviour of its chief was "inappropriate" and he was not taking their arguments into consideration during the talks. 

The opposition delegation led by National Unity Front (NUF) convenor and eminent jurist Kamal Hossain met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nurul Huda to discuss the alleged arrests of the coalition's supporters in police crackdown ahead of the general elections this week. 

In the meeting, the alliance also raised the issue of debarring it from holding its wrap up election rally in the capital. It also accused police of playing a "biased role" against opposition supporters

"We walked out of the meeting as the CEC was not taking into consideration our words," BNP's secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters after coming out of the meeting within half-an-hour it began. 

The CEC's "behaviour was inappropriate", he added.

Alamgir is leading the party in the absence of jailed BNP chairperson and ex-premier Khaleda Zia and her convicted "fugitive" son and party's acting chief Tarique Rahman. 

The opposition alleged police have arrested about 10,500 of their activists in a crackdown ahead of elections this week with an intention to create a "climate of fear". However, police said no one was detained without specific charge and warrant.

BNP spokesman Rizvi Ahmed called the charges "fictitious" and an attempt to expose their activists to "ghost" cases" to favour the ruling Awami League party of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina and Zia have been political foes since the introduction of democracy in 1991. They have traditionally alternated in power but Hasina's current rule has lasted since 2009 and Zia's jail term this year prevented her from taking part in the election.

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