Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hectic campaign outweighs code of conduct

Hectic campaign outweighs code of conduct

Quader blows up allegations over DCC vote: AL conspiring to snatch BNP victory, says Fakhrul

Mazharul Islam Mitchel: Mayoral candidates of Awami League and BNP are continuing hectic campaigns for pulling votes to win the Dhaka city elections, sometimes beyond permissible limits, witnesses say. The candidates for the elections to the Dhaka South and North City Corporations are giving different promises to win voters' hearts. They gave various promises while campaigning in different areas for votes in favour of their respective symbols -- 'Boat' and 'Sheaf of Paddy'. Almost all the candidates for both mayoral and ward councillor posts in the two city corporation elections in Dhaka are allegedly violating the electoral code of conduct continuously. Allegations of violation of the code are being raised by each candidate against the other. Candidates from both BNP and ruling Awami League are also filing complaints with the Election Commission continuously. But there was no instance of punitive measures so far. According to the EC officials, most of the allegations are over attacks on supporters of rival candidates as well as threats to one another. Besides, allegations of campaigning by lawmakers in favour of different candidates now appear to be one of the major issues. On the other hand, candidates and their activists are carrying out campaign with loudspeakers, bringing out processions and pasting posters showing disregard to the electoral rules. They are holding rallies, blocking roads and causing sufferings to pedestrians in addition to setting up makeshift campaign centres on the roads and roadsides. One of the candidates of the BNP, contesting for Ward-20 as Councillor, stormed into the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital with a procession on January 14 causing sufferings to hundreds of patients. Awami League (AL) General Secretary and Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said BNP exposes diffident psyche. He said BNP is trying to make the upcoming city corporation polls questionable as they (BNP) have no history of victory. "BNP has sensed their defeat in the upcoming city corporation polls. For this, they (BNP) are trying to make the city polls questionable," he told journalists after paying homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his mazar in Tungipara of Gopalganj district. The minister said, "We have to strengthen organizational structure of Awami League for ensuring its better contribution to build a "Sonar Bangla" as dreamt by Bangabandhu." The present government is relentlessly working to build a middle-income country through bringing a significant change in all development sectors, he added. Meanwhile, BNP Secretary-General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday alleged that the ruling party is conspiring to hamper their party's victory in the elections to two Dhaka city corporations. He also alleged that AL is hatching plots to keep BNP away from the elections. "As Awami League has become politically bankrupt, it's now conspiring to thwart BNP's victory in the two city polls in various ways," he said. Fakhrul came up with the allegation while talking to reporters after offering fateha at the grave of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko at Banani Graveyard, marking his fifth death anniversary. He alleged that the ruling party is attacking their party candidates and their supporters physically to force them to quit the city election race. "They're hatching various plots to keep us away from the elections." The BNP leader said no-one will be able to prevent the victory of their mayoral candidates, Tabith Awal and Ishraque Hossain, as there has been a mass wave in favour of the 'Sheaf of Paddy, their party's election symbol. Fakhrul said Arafat Rahman Koko met a premature death because of political reasons though he was not involved in politics. "He had been subjected to both physical and psychological repressions out of political vengeance (of the government). He prayed for salvation of the departed soul of Koko. BNP senior leaders and its two mayoral candidates Tabith and Ishraque were present there. Later, the two BNP candidates offered fateha at the grave of Annisul Huq, the late mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), at the Banani Graveyard. They prayed for the eternal peace of Annisul's departed soul. Annisul was elected DNCC mayor with Awami League's ticket in April 2015 defeating Tabith Awal. BNP had boycotted that election halfway through.

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