- Foreign Affairs
- November 18, 2017
Reports of sporadic violence in several areas continued to come as campaigning ended midnight for tomorrow’s polls in 234 municipalities.
For any elections in Bangladesh – be them parliamentary or local government – violence is common, although by and large the customary festive atmosphere – another feature of elections in Bangladesh – prevailed in most constituencies.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday called upon people to cast their votes for the Sheaf of Paddy (BNP’s election symbol) saying that her party would stay in the vote battle till the end.
The former premier alleged that the ruling party had completed all the arrangements to turn the municipal polls into a “farcical” one as the opposition candidates were being intimidated, harassed and threatened.
Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday expressed his doubts over BNP’s stance in participating in the municipal polls.
He said: “We still have strong doubts that the BNP would stick to its current stance of participating in the municipal polls on December 30.”
The public administration minister made the comment while addressing a press briefing at Awami League president’s political office in the capital’s Dhanmondi, soon after BNP chief Khaleda Zia said her party would stay in the vote battle till the end.
The BNP-nominated mayoral candidates of Chittagong have expressed their doubt over holding the municipal polls in a peaceful atmosphere since a number of assault incidents took place in the last couple of days.
Former minister and adviser to the BNP chairperson Mir Mohammed Nasir Uddin came under attack allegedly by the ruling party men during an electoral campaign at Rangunia municipality on December 26.
Fear will not deter citizens from voting on election day this December 30, the residents of Rajshahi division said.
While many residents of the division admitted that they were fearful of disturbances during the municipal polls, they said they would vote anyway as the campaign period drew to a close yesterday.
Contending candidates traded blame in the northern division as several areas witnessed an escalation of violence ahead of the polls.
With the municipal elections only a day away, 1,518 candidates in 29 municipalities under the Khulna division are under a lot of stress regarding the election outcome.
As the deadline for electoral campaigns ended last night, the stress mainly stems from the fact that they cannot interact with voters at field level today, the last day before th elections tomorrow.
Municipal election contestants in Sylhet had a busy day yesterday as they campaigned vigorously in different areas in an effort to win the support of voters.
With participation of central leaders of their respective parties, they conducted extensive door-to-door campaigns, and held street rallies and meetings to ask people to vote for them.
Both the Awami League and the BNP worked in teams in different parts of the district during yesterday’s electioneering.
Voters in the country’s northern districts are worried about whether they can exercise their voting rights during tomorrow’s municipal elections, with many fearing that there could be a recurrence of what had happened in the 10th general elections in 2014.
They say they are eager to go to polling stations to cast their votes but a sense of apprehension prevails in the air.
Voters in Barisal and its surrounding southern districts are concerned that Wednesday’s municipal elections might see violence erupt between supporters of partisan mayoral candidates.
However, the locals added that they expect the competition for councillor and women’s reserved seats to be more peaceful.
They also raised doubts over the impartial role of law enforcement agencies, saying that the deployment of army would have enabled a more secure environment in the many risk-prone centres in their respective districts.
Amid apprehensions about the fairness of the upcoming polls, a close three-way contest for the mayoral post warms up in Jessore, the oldest municipalities in the country.
This year’s municipality polls will be the first partisan local government elections, meaning candidates will run with electoral symbols of the two major political parties – Awami League’s country boat and BNP’s sheaf of paddy.
Just like national elections, the emotional attachment of voters with the two electoral symbols will no doubt play a big role in these polls as well.
The first Santal woman to stand for a reserved women’s councillor seat is contesting the municipal polls in Rajshahi.
Babita Mardi, whose electoral symbol is a pair of scissors, is standing against four other contenders for seat 2 of Kakonhat municipality in Rajshahi district’s Godagari upazila.
Local residents are excited by her candidacy and said they hope she can do something positive for the indigenous community.
No outsiders will be allowed in polling areas after election campaigning ends on Monday midnight, Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz has said.
“No one but the voters will be allowed in the polling areas after midnight [Monday],” Shah Newaz said yesterday while briefing journalists about the commission’s last-minute preparations.
Ballot papers and other voting materials have already been sent to returning officers and the materials will reach all polling centres by Tuesday, he added.
Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operatives stockpiled a huge cache of grenades and other explosives as part of a plan to carry out attacks across the country on March 25, the Detective Branch (DB) of police said.
The militant outfit also plans to attack religious programmes, priests and Pirs.
The DB came to know about the plot while interrogating three arrested JMB members following a raid on a bomb-making facility in the Shah Ali police station area in the capital’s Mirpur 1 neighbourhood.
A Dhaka court yesterday fixed February 17 for the next hearing on charge framing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others in Niko graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Judge Md Aminul Islam of Dhaka Special Judge’s Court 9 fixed the date for charge framing after accepting a time petition. Khaleda’s counsel Md Sanaullah Miah submitted the petition before the court mentioning that Khaleda could not appear due to illness.
Tea workers at Chandpore Tea Estate in Habiganj have urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to cancel the government’s plan to establish an economic zone on hundreds of acres of arable land in the dicstrict’s Chunarughat upazila.
They submitted a memorandum to the prime minister yesterday through Chunarughat Upazila Nirbahi Officer Masudul Kabir, demanding cancellation of the move as the establishment would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of tea workers there, said Sadhan Dulal, president of Bangladesh Tea Labour Union’s Chandpur tea garden unit.
Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) has decided to run a special bus service in two phases from January 6 to 19, 2016 for ferrying devotees of the Bishwa Ijtema.
The first phase of the Bishwa Ijtema would be held January 8-10 and the second January 15-17.
The BRTC will operate the special bus service to carry passengers from various places and bus terminals in the city during the Ijtema time, said a press release.
Over the past year, the majority of projects in the country’s roads and communications sector have seen little to no progress, with the only significant exception being the rapidly moving work on Padma bridge.
Deadlines have been missed in several key projects that were supposed to solve the traffic situation in Dhaka city. The delays include works to set up the metro rail, the bus rapid transit, the Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover and the Dhaka Elevated Expressway.
Common people, along with politicians, should share responsibility in establishing a sustainable democratic system in the country, speakers said at a programme yesterday.
They said the country’s politicians are habituated to avoid the practice of accountability and common people are unaware of their responsibilities.
A Dhaka speedy trial tribunal set December 31 for the verdict on the case filed over the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajeeb Haider.
Judge Sayeed Ahmed of the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 3 yesterday fixed the date after completion of the closing arguments by the prosecution and defense counsels in the sensational murder case.
Special Public Prosecutor Mahabubur Rahman said: “We have been able to prove the allegations brought against the eight accused and hopeful that the accused will get the maximum punishment in the case.”
A Chittagong court yesterday remanded each of the three Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh members, who were arrested in possession of firearms on Sunday, for five days.
Naimur Rahman alias Noyon, Md Shawkat Rasel and Faisal Mahmud were put on remand for questioning in a case filed under the Anti-terrorism Act in connection with the recovery of firearms and bombs from the port city’s Khowajnagar area on October 6.