Awami League on Wednesday announced the names of 56 mayoral candidates for the fourth phase municipal elections scheduled to be held on February 14.
The announcement came after a meeting of the ruling party’s Local Government Representative Nomination Board, held at Ganobhaban with AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Awami League declared its nominated mayoral candidates for four municipalities in Rangpur Division, nine municipalities in Rajshahi Division, six municipalities in Khulna Division, three municipalities in Barishal Division, 13 in Dhaka Division, five in Mymensingh Division, two in Sylhet Division and 14 in Chattogram Division, according to press release issued by the party.
The deadline for submission of nomination papers is January 17.
Also read: 4th phase polls to 56 municipalities Feb 14
According to the schedule, the date for scrutiny of nomination papers is January 19 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is January 26.
Among the 56 municipalities, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in polls to 31 municipalities, while 25 others will see the use of traditional ballot papers.
Also read: 3rd phase polls to 64 municipalities Jan 30
The first phase election to 24 municipalities was held on December 28 last year, while the second phase election to 61 municipalities will be held on January 16 and the third phase polls to 64 municipalities on January 30.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Wednesday alleged that the government has established a ‘reign of robbery’ in the country by indulging in widespread ‘plundering’ even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Now there’s l no rule of law in the country. You (govt) are indulging in widespread plundering and stealing public money by establishing a reign of robbery in Bangladesh,” he said.
Speaking at a human-chain programme, Fakhrul said, “You even didn't stop plundering amid the dangerous pandemic of Covid-19. You’re now plotting to plunder more public money through vaccine import.”
As part of the party’s countrywide programme, its Dhaka south city unit arranged the human-chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club protesting the framing of charges against BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and issuing a warrant for his arrest in a sedition case.
Fakhrul said the government has been driving a steamroller of repression for nearly 12 years to destroy democracy.
“They (govt) think they can suppress the patriotic and democracy-loving people through repressive acts and false cases. But it’s not possible as the people of Bangladesh are used to restoring their rights through struggles,” he observed.
The BNP leader said people liberated the country and establish democracy through struggles and many sacrifices. “The People of Bangladesh will protect democracy again by shedding blood if it's necessary.”
As part of a plot to remove BNP from politics, he said its chairperson Khaleda Zia was jailed in false cases while Tarique Rahman kept in exile by ‘implicating’ him in different cases.
Fakhrul said the government fears Tarique as he does politics for the people of the country following the footsteps of his father Ziaur Rahman and mother Khaleda Zia.
“Tarique Rahman is not alone since the country’s 16 crore democracy-loving people are with him. So, it’s not possible to suppress the movement for democracy by resorting to filing cases and issuing arrest warrants,” he observed.
The BNP leader said the government has destroyed the judiciary and its dignity by establishing its control over it. “You’ve convicted Khaleda Zia in completely false cases.”
Describing the Awami League government as anti-people one, he said it has taken a position against people and democracy by destroying all the institutions of the country in a planned way.
“So, we all must get united to remove the Awami League government. All the patriotic and democracy-loving people of Bangladesh will have to defeat this regime through united efforts,” Fakhrul said.
He demanded the government withdraw all the ‘false’ cases against Khaleda, Tarique and 35 lakh leaders and activists of BNP and release all the arrested and jailed political leaders and activists.
“From this public rally, we want to send out a message to people that it’s a time to get united, register protest and take part in a struggle against unjust and in favour of truth and justice. Let’s join that movement,” Fakhrul said.
Speaking at the programme, BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said the current government must be removed from the state power as it has killed democracy. “If we can do it, the rule of law, the independence of judiciary and democracy will be restored in the country.”
He said only one person of the current ‘authoritarian’ government has been ‘controlling’ courts, judiciary, police and all other forces.
“This despotic regime has no patriotism. It’s been trying to make the country a bottomless basket again by sacrificing the country’s interests and serving the purposes of its foreign masters only to hang onto power,” Gayeshwar said.
He said BNP should take preparations to wage a movement to dislodge the government as people are waiting to take to the streets.
The BNP leader said their party’s main responsibility is now to ensure a fair and credible election by ‘ousting’ the Awami League government. “We all have to discharge our this responsibility sincerely to ensure the fall of Sheikh Hasina.”
BNP on Tuesday questioned the ‘silent’ role of the Anti-Corruption Commission in taking action against Dhaka South City Corporation’s (DSCC’s) current and former mayors as they are accusing each other of indulging in graft.
“Ex-mayor Sayeed Khokon has said Mayor Taposh (Fazle Noor Taposh) has plundered hundreds of crores of taka while Taposh has said Sayeed Khokon has looted hundreds of crores of taka. Both are openly divulging information about corruption against each other,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He said, “It’s clear that both (Taposh and Khokon) are looters and corrupt. Will the ACC now take action against them or watch the mockery? It hardly takes any time to take action against BNP…our question as to why is the ACC silent now?”
The BNP leader raised the question at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
He alleged that the ACC has become a "washing machine" to clean up the allegations of corruption and plundering against Awami League leaders.
Rizvi also said the ACC used to present nicely before people the fabricated and false allegations against BNP leaders as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina constituted the Commission in that manner. “In fact, the ACC and the Election Commission have been formed in the same fashion.”
He said the ACC has sincerely been working to serve the government’s purpose of destroying democracy and BNP.
Also read: BNP’s nationwide human chain prog Wednesday
The BNP leader said their party knows it very well that the ACC cannot take any step against Taposh and Khokon as they both are close to the ruling party top leadership.
Rizvi said some Awami League leaders themselves are talking about corruption and unjust acts of the ruling party.
He said Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s younger brother Mirza Quader is now unveiling many facts through his various comments. “
"His own brother has raised the question whether Obaidul Quader himself will win if the election is held in a free and fair manner. The statements of these three leaders of the Awami League (Mirza, Khokon and Taposh) have proved once again that Awami League is immersed in corruption -- from the top to bottom,” Rizvi said.
BNP and its associate bodies have chalked out various programmes to observe the 85th birth anniversary of its founder Ziaur Rahman on January 19.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced the programmes at a press briefing at the party's Nayapaltan central office on Tuesday.
The programmes include placing wreaths at Zia's grave, holding discussions, arranging a photo exhibition on Zia, an essay competition, and a free medical camp.
As part of the programmes, Rizvi said party flags will be hoisted atop the offices of the party, including its Nayapaltan headquarters, on the morning of January 19.
Besides, the party leaders and activists, led by its standing committee members, will place wreaths at Zia's grave at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar at 11am.
The party will arrange a virtual discussion in the afternoon in memory of Zia.
BNP’s associate bodies will arrange discussions, a photo exhibition, and an essay competition as part of the birth anniversary programmes.
Besides, Doctors Association of Bangladesh (DAB) will arrange a free medical camp at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office the same day.
The party’s city, district and upazila units will also observe the day with various programmes.
Born on January 19, 1936 at Bagbari in Bogura, Ziaur Rahman founded the party in 1978 and become the country's 7th president.
Zia was assassinated by a group of army officers at Chittagong Circuit House on May 30, 1981.
BNP on Monday alleged that an arrangement has been made for “plundering public money by government-backed businesspeople” in the name of procuring coronavirus vaccine.
"Democracy has been destroyed while an economy of plundering has now been established in the country," said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a virtual discussion, he said, "When the coronavirus is changing the entire world, we’re observing with very disappointment that government-backed businesspeople have made an arrangement for plundering over the vaccine.”
BNP arranged the programme commemorating the formation of an army-backed caretaker government on January 11, 2007.
Fakhrul said they want to stop plundering, revive the economy and destroy the one-party system of governance in Bangladesh by establishing a multiparty democracy. “We want to ensure food, clothing and shelter for the common people in true sense and establish people’s freedom of speech.”
He also said they want to transform Bangladesh into a welfare state as dreamt by their party founder Ziaur Rahman.
Fakhrul said they are working to unite people for the ‘restoration’ of democracy by defeating the current regime through a movement.
About the 1/11 political changeover in 2007, he said it was not an isolated incident. “The takeover of power on January 11, 2007 was part of local and foreign conspiracies to eliminate the truly patriotic and democratic forces of Bangladesh.”
The BNP leader alleged that the 1/11 regime illegally captured power by ousting a constitutional and democratic government. “Later, those who came to power in connivance with them (1/11 regime) put the country’s independence at stake and destroyed democracy and people’s hopes and aspirations in a planned way.”
Ever since the independence of Bangladesh, he said, there has always been an attempt from a special quarter to keep the country under its control.
Stating that democracy is the soul of Bangladesh, the BNP leader said it has been deliberately destroyed by that quarter through the 1/11 incident. “People’s rights have now been snatched by establishing the one-party rule. People have never wanted to see this Bangladesh.”