Though BNP had participated in the Chattogram City Corporation elections, its leaders had given up hope by the end of the campaign. They stayed home and resorted to violence instead on Election Day.
Information Minister and Awami League Joint General Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud were speaking to the newly elected leaders of Bangladesh Photojournalists Association at his Secretariat office in the capital on Thursday.
"BNP leaders and activists attacked various locations on election day, smashed EVM machines, and injured several people, including the son of city Awami League Publicity Secretary Shafiqul Islam," the minister alleged.
He said, "The election was not competitive due to the absence of BNP leaders and activists in the field."
Saying that BNP is in the habit of making baseless allegations just to save its image, he said, "BNP agents did not visit most poll centres, whereas they are now alleging that we drove out their agents during the election, But, in fact, their agents did not go, so whom would we drive out?"
Hasan Mahmud said only a few incidents take place in city corporation elections or local government elections in Bangladesh, which are also fairly common in various states of neighbouring India, including West Bengal.
"In 2018, 19 people died during the Kolkata City Corporation and Panchayat elections. BJP candidate Rupa Ganguly's election campaign meeting was ransacked in her presence, forcing her to run and take shelter in a nearby house. That kind of incident didn't occur here," he added.
Observing that voter turnout was a bit low due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the minister said, "BNP has never won the Chattogram City Corporation elections since 1994. In the 2010's election, they nominated Manjurul Alam Manju (without a party symbol), a lifelong member of Awami League. He won the election by virtue of his long Awami League career and running a foundation and school in Bangamata's name."
They have not won since 1994, and none of their councilor candidates have won this time either. Chattogram is Awami League's base, he concluded.