Noakhali, Dec 21 (UNB) – Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said the Election Commission will present a fair and neutral election on December 30 with government’s assistance.
He made the remarks while addressing an election rally at Narasinghapur Govt Primary School ground in Kabirhat upazila in the evening.
Quader, also Road Transport and Bridges Minister, took a swipe at Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain, saying he is leading an alliance with those anti-liberation forces who burned people to death at the directive of convict Tarique Rahman.
He also claimed the BNP had dragged the country into darkness while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken it to the path of light. “The country will plunge into darkness again if BNP comes to power.”
About BNP’s announcement to guard polling stations on the election day, the ruling party leader said they will protect the centres until the vote counting ends.
Earlier, he addressed several rallies in Companiganj upazila.
Dhaka, Dec 21 (UNB) – BNP’s Satkhira-1 candidate Habibul Islam Habib has sought the removal of Kalaroa Police Station Officer-in-Charge Mafur Ahmmed, who openly campaigned for the ruling Awami League.
Habib filed a written complaint to the Election Commission on Friday.
A video of OC Maruf delivering a pro-AL speech made rounds on the social media on Thursday.
“On behalf of the administration, I want to tell you that you will [have to] vote for the pro-liberation force. Vote for ‘boat’ (AL’s electoral symbol). Your vote is very important for strengthening the hands of Sheikh Hasina,” he is heard saying.
“The Awami League-led government is needed for the continuous development [of the country]. Let’s vote this government to power again,” he added.
His speech raised questions on whether an officer, who will be on active election duty, can campaign for political parties. The OC claimed his speech had been “edited.”
BNP’s Habib also accused OC Maruf of obstructing their campaigns and vandalising houses of his party’s activists. He informed the EC that he had left the area over security concerns.
Satkhira’s Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer SM Mostofa Kamal said it was illegal for a responsible government employee to seek vote for any candidate. “We will inform the EC and take steps as per its directives,” he said.
Mostofa said Satkhira police chief had already been informed and asked to take action.
BNP candidate Habib also accused the constituency’s AL-led alliance candidate Mustafa Lutfullah of breaching the polls code by using Sheikh Hasina’s image on posters instead of his party chief’s.
Dhaka, Dec 21 (UNB) – Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Friday alleged that what the government is now doing has outdone all the autocrats and urged it to keep cool.
“I’ll say what the government is doing has outdone all the autocrats,” he said while addressing a press conference at Oikyafront’s Purana Paltan office.
Dr Kamal, also Gano Forum president, alleged that the government is blocking the way for a fair election in the country through arrest and repression of opposition leaders and activists.
He urged the government to immediately stop it or else, he warned, it will be accused of serious crime of violating the Constitution.
Asking the government to keep cool, the Oikyafront chief said, “It can’t be called victory if you win an election in such a way. If so, it’ll destroy the Constitution and deprive people of their franchise.”
Presenting statistics on attacks and repression on opposition candidates and their supporters, he said, “It’s an unprecedented scenario of the field of election. It’s clear that the incidents are being carried out in a planned way at the directives from the centre. The Constitution is being violated through such acts.”
Dr Kamal said drives against opposition leaders and activists by police are going on across the country to suppress the opposition candidates and their supporters.
The Gano Forum chief said opposition candidates and activists are being subjected to unprecedented police harassment. “The way police were let loose on the streets against opposition is unprecedented and contrary to the Constitution.”
He said if anyone gets elected without a fair election, they would not be able to claim themselves as public representatives. “It’ll be a false claim if the election is not held in a fair and credible manner. People won’t recognise them as their representatives which will only create a serious crisis.”
Kamal said it will be a serious onslaught on the country’s independence if people cannot cast their votes and the election is not held in a fair and credible manner. “Nothing can be a serious crime than that.”
He called upon law enforcers not to turn the election into a farce, and work neutrally if they have minimum respect for the Constitution and democracy.
Replying to a query about whether the Oikyafront will boycott the election, he said they will be in the election race till the last moment under any circumstances.
Asked whether they are disappointed over the silence of the neighbouring country about the recent attacks on opposition, and the election atmosphere, Kamal said, “I won’t use the word ‘disappointment’, but I still expect positive action… I would beg to people in Delhi to look at those things.”
Mentioning that only a week is left before the election, Dr Kamal said it can be assumed what situation the voters will face on December 30 as the opposition candidates are now obstructed and attacked from carrying out electioneering.
He warned that people will not accept the election results if the government does not take steps to ensure a meaningful election shunning its repressive acts. “Keep it in mind that people in Bangladesh are very conscious. I’m asking you (govt) in a polite manner that stop foul things from tomorrow as the election is only a week away. Or else, people won’t accept the election and its results.”
The Oikyafront chief also said if the ruling party wins the election obstructing voters from exercising their franchise and stuffing ballots, the victory will not be meaningful and people won’t recognise the MPs. “So, it’s my request ‘let the election be held in a fair and credible manner. Please don’t be accused of violating the Constitution.”
Stating that the government is holding an ‘overdue’ nation election after five years, he said, “Please don’t turn the election into a farce. All the signs of a farcical election are now visible. I’ll observe from tomorrow (Saturday) whether you’re taking my request seriously. As a conscious citizen, not as an opposition leader, I humbly urge you to ensure a free and fair election obeying the laws.”
Dr Kamal also urged the authorities concerned to ask the government officials, including police, not to play any biased role. “I’ve got hurt seeing the attitude of police. Look at the dictionary what is the meaning of neutrality. Your activities are completely contrary to neutrality.”
He urged the Election Commission to take proper steps to bring police to the right path shunning the path of repression.
The alliance demanded the Election Commission reschedule the election in the seats where its candidates have been declared ineligible by court.
Reading out a written statement, Oikyafront leader JaglulHaiderAfrik also alleged that police have now become their rivals in the forthcoming 11th parliamentary elections.
He demanded that the controversial police officials be withdrawn immediately and replaced with neutral ones.
Oikyafront also announced to hold a grand rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on December 27, and rallies and mass processions in Dhaka-4 to Dhaka-18 constituencies every day at the same time from December 21 to December 24.
As many as 13 Oikyafront candidates have got their election bid curbed by the apex court on various grounds while its 16 candidates has so far been arrested.
Dhaka, Dec 21 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday alleged that the Election Commission (EC), government and even the judiciary are working in tandem to ‘annihilate’ democracy in the country.
“There’s no level-playing field. We’re observing with wonder that the Election Commission, administration and even the judiciary are working in unison to destroy democracy,” he said.
“It’s not only surprising to us, but also a matter of deep worry. I’m talking about the matter taking responsibility,” Fakhrul added.
The BNP leader came up with the remarks while speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office.
He said the election has now turned into a farce while a question has arisen in public mind whether there is any atmosphere in the country to hold a national election.
Fakhrul said they had an expectation that the opposition leaders and activists would not be arrested and they would be able to carry out electioneering freely after the announcement of the election schedule. “But it didn’t happen. A fair and credible election can’t be held under the current situation of the country. We don’t see any possibility of a fair election.”
He said they are facing obstacles to their every step by different state machinery. “Even, the High Court is determining whom should we give party nomination. So, how can we say we’re getting justice from the apex court?”
The BNP leader said the way the candidature of a major political party has been revoked, it can give an impression among people that the judiciary is also working as per the government’s will. “People are losing their confidence in the judiciary for such activities.”
Fakhrul demanded either the Election Commission give them a scope of fielding alternative candidates or reschedule the election in the seats where the candidates of the party and alliance partners have been declared disqualified by the court.
He said their party’s 15 candidates were arrested as the government wants the election to be held without any competition.
The BNP leader said they still hope that good senses will prevail upon the EC and the government and they will take steps to ensure a credible election.
He said they also hoped that the army will be deployed on December 24 and they together with law enforcers will work with patriotism.
Fakhrul said police have turned out to be their main opponent in the election as they are foiling the opposition’s rallies and arresting leaders and activists in ‘false and fake’ cases.
He said now ruling party men are vandalising their offices themselves and setting fire to abandoned houses at different parts of the country while police are filing cases against opposition activists.
The BNP leader said though the Prime Minister during the talks with her assured them of not arresting BNP leaders and activists after the announcement of the election schedule, opposition candidates and their supporters are being arrested regularly.
He said the Prime Minister accused BNP of printing fake ballots as they ruling party with the help of the Election Commission is doing it.
Fakhrul said they have come to know from some authentic sources that the government is assigning some law enforcers to stuff fake ballots at night before the voting. “We would like to say no evil design will work as people will foil all plots with their united efforts,” he warned.
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s comment about casting votes for ‘Boat’ taking money from BNP and Jamaat, the BNP leader questioned how a Prime Minister can make such ‘unethical and misleading’ remark.
He also accused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of spreading rumour through her various comments. “Spreading rumour and giving unethical advice is an offence. The Election Commission should take action against her. I urge the Commission to look into the matter.”
About the Prime Minister’s allegation that a plot has been hatched from London to kill police officers and foil the election, Fakhrul said it is a ‘dangerous and false’ allegation.
Naogaon, Dec 20 (UNB) – Local BNP on Thursday alleged that law enforcers were arresting its leaders and activists in fictitious cases and threatening them over the upcoming 11th parliamentary elections.
It also accused the ruling party men of tearing off BNP candidates’ posters, banners and vandalising and torching its election offices.
District BNP President Nazmul Haque Sony came up with the allegations at a press conference at the party office in the afternoon.
“In the last 10 days, over 100 BNP leaders and activists were arrested without any warrant. Law enforcers are threatening BNP leaders and activists over cell phones and visiting their houses to keep them away from the election,” he said.
Sony also alleged that Awami League men vandalised and torched 70 election camps of BNP since the election campaign began. “They (AL men and police) are tearing off the posters and beating up BNP activists and supporters,” he added.
District BNP General Secretary and party candidate for Naogaon-5 constituency Jahidul Islam Dhalu, its contestant for Naogaon-6 and former minister Alamgir Kabir and Naogaon-3 contender Parvez Arefin were present at the press conference.