BNP candidates file lawsuits with election tribunal

Salman Tareque Sakil
Published : 22:35, Feb 13, 2019 | Updated : 22:38, Feb 13, 2019

The BNP, which boycotted the 2014 election, took part in the 2018 national election under the Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Front coalition. FILE PHOTOThe BNP has started the process for a legal battle over the alleged rampant irregularities reported during the national election.

As many as seven of its candidates, who contested the Dec 30 polls, have filed separate lawsuits with the election tribunal on Wednesday (Feb 13), BNP chief’s media wing member Shaherul Kabir Khan told Bangla Tribune.

The election tribunal is a High Court bench designated to address matters concerning the election.

According to people familiar with the matter, BNP candidate of Jhenaidah-4 Saiful Islam Firoz, Abul Kalam Azad Siddique of Tangail-7, Barishal-1 candidate Jahiruddin Swapan, Shah Reazul Hannan of Gazipur-4, Moulvibazar-3 candidate Naser Rahman, Abdul Hye who contested from Munshiganj seat and Bhola-2 candidate Hafiz Ibrahim have filed lawsuits.

At least one BNP candidate from all the 64 districts are expected to start lawsuits in line with a decision taken during a key party meeting on Feb 9, which was attended by acting Tarique Rahman through video conferencing from London. 

“The lawsuits will shed light on the large scale rigging and the pre-meditated results of polls,” Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kajal, the counselor for the BNP candidates in Dhaka Division, told Bangla Tribune.

“There were several centres, where a single vote was not cast in favour of the BNP and then again, there were centre where an unbelievable 100 percent votes were in favour of the Awami League candidate. Our arguments will be based on these statistics,” he said.

Kajal said candidates from all the districts will file separate lawsuits.

According to 2008 election regulations, indignant parties may file petitions with the High Court regarding the election, within 45 days of the publication of gazette notifications on polls results.

Kajal, however, said that the 45-day deadline was not “a hard and fast thing”.

 “If there’s a delay for reasonable grounds then it would not be a problem,” he said.

The BNP has formed a panel of lawyers for the legal battle, which apart from Kajal consists of Barrister Aminul Haque, Zainul Abedin, Nitai Roy Chowdhury, Mir Nasir Uddin, Fazlur Rahman and Rajib Pradhan.

Gano Forum chief Kamal Hossain-led coalition Jatiya Oikya Front, with the BNP as its largest member, had decided to take legal actions soon after the election, but it hit snags as several members of the BNP’s highest policymaking forum then discouraged the move.

On Feb 7, Tarique instructed the BNP’s top brass in Dhaka to initiate legal measures and the Feb 9 meeting where representatives from 40 district units participated was a part of that process, according to BNP insiders.