Pro-Awami League Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip) won the elections to all of the 41 posts of the central executive committee of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).
However, rival panel pro-BNP Doctors' Association of Bangladesh (DAB) rejected the polls result, bringing allegations of vote rigging and demanding for fresh polls to be conducted by an “impartial” BMA Election Commission.
Dr Mahmud Hasan was elected president with 15,998 votes while his rival Dr AKM Azizul Haque, contesting from the DAB panel, bagged 8,273 votes, BMA Election Commission General Secretary Dr Shakhawat Hossain told journalists at BMA office yesterday.
In the secretary general post, Dr Iqbal Arslan was elected with 14,955 votes while his rival from DAB, Dr AZM Zahid Hossain, got 8,870 votes, he said.
DAB leaders organised a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday.
In the press conference, they demanded fresh polls under an “impartial” election commission, formed through negotiation with all parties, and threatened to launch a countrywide movement if their demand was not fulfilled.
“We, with all the doctors alongside, will launch a greater movement across the country if any committee is formed illegally,” said Dr Zahid.
While giving an example of vote rigging, Dr Zahid claimed that an additional 301 ballots, with the votes having been cast on them, were found while the votes were being counted on Thursday night.
He said DAB handed a written allegation over the vote rigging to the BMA Election Commission on Thursday, the day the votes were cast, but the BMA Election Commission did not pay any heed to it.
In response, the BMA Election Commission denied the allegations of vote rigging, saying that such claims were “baseless” and the election was conducted in a free and fair manner.
BMA Election Commission General Secretary Dr Shakhawat Hossain said, “We found 150 to 180 additional ballots. We are investigating the incident.
"As the vote difference between the two panels is huge, I think these additional ballots do not have any impact in the election results.”
On the written allegations, Dr Shakhawat said the BMA Election Commission got the copy yesterday.
Along with the central executive committee, 364 central councillors have been elected by voters across the country. The elections for many district unit committees were held on the same day, while elections to others will be held later on.
Earlier on Friday, BMA Election Commission President Dr Abdur Rahman Khan claimed that around 60 percent of the votes were cast across the country. The figure was 61 in Dhaka, he said.
The number of voters in the election to the BMA is 32,892. Out of the total, 13,338 voters are in Dhaka. The biennial election of BMA was held at 67 centres across the country, including Dhaka.