The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with the visiting European Union election expert team over the January 7 general election.

A delegation of six members of the party led by BNP standing committee member Abdul Moyeen Khan participated in the meeting.

In the meeting, the BNP delegation presented the January 7 general election as ‘one-sided’ to the EU team.

The party said that necessary information and evidence were provided to prove the January 7 election a ‘one-sided’ one.

Confirming the meeting, Moyeen Khan said, ‘As far as we understand, they will give a report on the election situation after collecting information about it. We have highlighted the reality. This (January 7 election) is not an election but a drama.’

The party standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, chairperson’s advisory council member Ismail Zabiullah, international affairs secretary Humayun Kabir, organising secretary Shama Obaid and human rights affairs secretary Asaduzzaman also participated in the meeting.

Earlier on the day, two EU election experts met with a delegation of Sylhet divisional BNP in a hotel in Sylhet city.

BNP chairperson’s advisory council member Khandaker Abdul Muktadir, former Sylhet mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury and Sylhet district unit BNP president Abdul Qayum Chowdhury were present in the meeting, said BNP media cell.

A four-member EU election expert team led by David Noel Ward is now staying in Bangladesh. The three other members of the visiting team are electoral analysts Alexandre Mattus and Swibes Charlotte, and legal expert Rebecca Cox.

At a virtual press conference on the day the party termed the ruling Awami League’s election manifesto for the January 7 polls as mockery with people.  

‘People are looking at this manifesto of the Awami League as a mockery with them just as they are already treating the dummy election without the opposition as a joke,’ BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at the virtual press conference.

‘People have no participation in this election. She [prime minister] is trying hard to conduct a farce election. She read a manifesto on behalf of her party. The Awami League with its boat symbol and independent candidates are also from the Awami League. Reading this election manifesto—the common man sees it as a joke of a circus clown.’

‘She [Hasina] said, “If we come to power this time the country will be smart Bangladesh”. How many of such farcical words are we listening to? How many banks need to be looted and how many second homes abroad need to be built to turn Bangladesh to smart Bangladesh?’ Rizvi asked.

He said that Sheikh Hasina has turned Bangladesh to a country where people fear to speak out.

‘Is this a sample of smart Bangladesh?’ he questioned.

He said that the right to reveal the truth has also been taken away.

He further said that the Transparency International Bangladesh analysed the affidavits of Awami League candidates in the ‘dummy’ election to reveal a list of looters who have amassed heaps of wealth worth hundreds of crores of taka.

‘A minister of the Awami League has business worth Tk 2,312 crore abroad, but he has concealed this information in the election affidavit. The revelation of these facts has dealt a blow to that minister and AL lawmakers. It’s particularly a blow to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. [That is why] he called TIB a branch organisation of the BNP,’ Rizvi said.

The Awami League on Wednesday morning announced the party’s election manifesto ahead of the next general election with pledges to build a smart Bangladesh, control commodity prices and generate more employment.