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Bangla PM Hasina gets landslide win in general elections; Oppn rejects 'farcical' polls

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Press Trust of India Dhaka
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's alliance has won the parliamentary vote with a thumping majority, officials said Monday, even as the main opposition rejected the "farcical" elections which claimed 18 lives and left over 200 injured, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country.
The ruling Awami League-led grand alliance has won 288 seats in the 300-member Parliament, Election Commission (EC) secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said.
The opposition Jatiya Oikya Front - National Unity Front (NUF) - has secured seven seats, he said, adding that others have won three seats.
Voting was postponed in one constituency and result not declared in another due to the death of a candidate, Ahmed said.
Rejecting the results, the opposition NUF urged the EC to immediately scrap the "farcical election" and hold a fresh one under a non-partisan interim government.
NUF chief and veteran lawyer Kamal Hossain called the polls a "farce", citing widespread polling frauds, bdnews24.com reported.
"We have reports that fraudulence took place in almost all centres.
"You (the EC) must cancel this election right away. We reject the so-called results and demand a new election under a neutral government," Hossain said.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who steered the party in the absence of imprisoned former prime minister Khaleda Zia, described the polls as a "cruel farce".
He said the elections proved that free and fair polls were not possible under a partisan government.
The BNP's decision to stay away from the general election five years ago was not wrong, he said.
The NUF is a coalition of opposition parties such as the BNP, Gono Forum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD, Nagorik Oikya and Krishak Sramik Janata League.
With the overwhelming majority in the 11th general elections, Hasina is set to take office of the prime minister for the third consecutive time and fourth time overall.
The ruling alliance has bettered its previous best performance of 2008 when it won 263 parliamentary seats.
The BNP, which has been out of power for 12 years and had boycotted the 10th general elections in 2014, is part of the opposition alliance.
EC secretary Ahmed told reporters: "This is a huge event in the history of Bangladesh as the voting to the 11th parliamentary election took place in a very free, fair and peaceful environment under a political government.
"My congratulations to the Awami League".
While Hasina was seeking re-election for the fourth term as the prime minister, her arch-rival Zia, who is reportedly partially paralysed, faces an uncertain future in a Dhaka jail where she is lodged after her conviction in corruption cases.
The EC said they have received over a hundred complaints from candidates throughout the country amid reports of violence.
At least 18 people, including a member of a security agency, have been killed and more than 200 others injured in poll-related violence, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country, the Daily Star reported.
Reports said most of the dead were ruling party activists, while others were workers of the BNP or its allies.
As many as 299 out of the 300 parliamentary seats went to the polls that took place across Bangladesh from 8 AM to 4 PM (local time) Sunday.
The EC confirmed the complete result of the constituency in southwestern Gopalganj from where Hasina won, bagging 2,29,539 votes, while her BNP opponent got only 123 votes.
Over 600,000 security personnel including several thousand soldiers and paramilitary border guards were deployed across the nation for the election in which 10.41 crore people were eligible to vote.

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First Published: Dec 31 2018 | 1:20 PM IST

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