Bangladesh opposition calls strike again to scrap polls

Dhaka, Jan 5: Bangladesh’s 18-party opposition, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has called a 48-hour back-to-back countrywide shutdown from Monday to demand for the scrapping of the 10th parliamentary elections held Sunday.

Advisor of BNP chairperson Osman Farruq made the announcement at a press conference at the party chief’s Gulshan office, bdnews24.com reported.

He said the latest programme will continue simultaneously with its blockade for an indefinite period.

Polling ended in 147 constituencies in 59 districts of Bangladesh amid an opposition-led string of violent incidents.

The violence led the Election Commission to postpone voting in 160 polling centres.

Mired in controversy, the elections were held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. As many as 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid a boycott by the main opposition party and its allies.

Some 21 parties, including the BNP, boycotted the polls over Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the elections.

IANS