Bangladesh`s main opposition sweeps mayoral polls
In a major poll debacle to Bangladesh`s ruling Awami League, main opposition BNP today swept crucial mayoral polls in four major cities ahead of the general elections.
Dhaka: In a major poll debacle to Bangladesh`s ruling Awami League, main opposition BNP today swept crucial mayoral polls in four major cities ahead of the general elections.
Candidates belonging to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former prime minister Khaleda Zia defeated rivals from Premier Sheikh Hasina`s Awami League with a big margin at all the four cities of northwestern Rajshahi, southwestern Khulna and Barisal and northeastern Sylhet.
The independent Election Commission officially declared the BNP candidates winners after the day long voting when the paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troops joined with police to enforce a strict security vigil amid fears of violence.
In Rajshahi City Corporation, BNP`s Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul won by 47,332 votes against his AL rival AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, who was elected mayor in 2008.
The election to Khulna City Corporation saw BNP`s Moniruzzaman Mony beating AL-backed Talukder Abdul Khaleque by 60,671 votes.
In both Barisal and Sylhet, BNP-backed mayoral candidates defeated their rivals by 17,010 votes and 35,157 votes respectively.
Under the law, the local government elections including the ones in city corporations were non-party elections but major political parties field their candidates.
The mass circulation Samakal newspaper commented that the voters apparently gave a verdict for a political change ahead of the general elections.
General elections in Bangladesh must be held within 90 days of the expiration of the Parliament. The ninth parliament expires on December 29.
Hasina`s archrival and BNP chief Zia asked party activists to celebrate calmly.
Reacting to the poll result, Zia said the election result was a befitting response of people to the "government failures and autocratic rule".
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters that the city poll results vindicated their contention that people were looking for a change.
"The people support our demand for caretaker. This is the main issue of our campaign and the poll results show people have responded," Fakhrul said.