Dhaka, Dec 26 (UNB) – Though they had a plan to carry out spirited electioneering after the army deployment, Jatiya Oikyafront has apparently failed to intensify its polls campaign, especially in the capital, creating a sense of frustration among its rank and file as the election approaches fast.
The beleaguered alliance also suffered a blow as the Dhaka Metropolitan Police did not permit it to hold a scheduled rally in the capital on December 27. Oikyafront leaders had planned to rejuvenate their leaders and activists with a massive showdown through the rally two days before the voting.
Some Oikyafront mid-level leaders think the alliance is failing to demonstrate its strength and create election excitement among the grassroots for lack of an effective strategy and strong leadership.
Jatiya Oikyafront leaders, led by Dr Kamal Hossain, walk out of a meeting with the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. Photo: UNB
They also voiced worry over the possible election results of Dhaka’s most seats as the alliance candidates could not reach out to voters and create election euphoria among their activists for lack of adequate electioneering.
However, senior leaders of the alliance said they are carrying out campaign on a limited scale as much as they can with a serious caution to avoid violence and arrest of their leaders and activists as they do not want to lose their strength before the December 30 election day.
The top Oikyafront leaders said they are now not giving importance to election campaign as they are confident that their alliance will come out successful if they can show their real strength on December 30 mobilising people.
“The ruling party is trying provoking us to indulge in violence with their attacks and obstruction to our polls campaigns. So, we’re sending out messages to our leaders and activists not to get involved in any fight and conserve their strength for the voting day. If we try to resist them now, it will only invite danger for us,” a BNP standing committee member wishing anonymity told UNB.
But, Osman Gani Tutul, a Dhaka city unit BNP ex-office secretary, said the alliance leaders should take proper strategy to accelerate the election campaign immediately to boost the morale of their grassroots.
“Our leaders said the situation would be improved after the army deployment, but it worsened instead. Our leaders and activists are being arrested regularly. So, we shouldn’t fear the arrest and obstruction,” he added.
A Dhaka south city unit leader, Shamsul Alam, said this is the fact that the situation is in no way favourable to their party and alliance leaders and activists to go out on the election field. “But had our chairperson Khaleda Zia been out of the jail, the situation would have been different. There’s now no leader in our party and alliance matches her.”
He said Dr Kamal Hossain has been playing an outstanding role, but he cannot carry out election campaign due to his fragile health condition. “Now our party should work out plans so that we can demonstrate our strength even for day as it will rejuvenate our activists and followers.”
Gano Forum training affairs secretary Rafiqul Islam Pathik said their alliance candidates, mainly the ones in the capital, cannot accelerate their electioneering due to serious repressive acts and obstructions by police and law enforcers. “People are ready to cast their votes for Sheaf of Paddy across the country. Now our main goal is to encourage people to go to the polling stations on December 30.”
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said they had an expectation that the situation would improve with the army deployment and their candidates would be able to carry out hectic electioneering a few days before the election. “But the situation rather worsened.”
He alleged that their party leaders and activists were attacked by ruling party men and police in 28 constituencies, injuring over a hundred people, including 19 candidates, on Monday, the first day of the army development.
Rizvi said police continued to arrest their leaders and activists and file ‘false’ cases against them “A total of our 7,021 leaders and activists have been arrested till Monday since the announcement of the election schedule.”
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said there is a little bit of frustration among their grassroots workers due to the prevailing situation. “But we’re trying to keep up their spirit with regular contact and motivation.”
Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury said they are peacefully carrying out campaign as much as they can. “We’ve asked our activists to avoid violence as we believe people will come up with a befitting reply to all repressive acts on December 30 through the ballot.”