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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka city polls: BNP, JaPa, CPB struggle with their campaigns

'Our leaders and party members are continuously getting threats from the law enforcement agencies as well as from ruling party activists'

Update : 21 Jan 2020, 11:31 PM

The streets of ward 36 in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have been overwhelmed with the posters and banners of ruling party mayoral and councillor candidates for the upcoming Dhaka city polls

Even independent candidates from the ward, comprising Mirertek, Mirbagh, Modhubagh, East Nayatola and Moghbazar Wireless Colony  have made their presence felt before voters with their intense electioneering.

However, it is a different story with the candidates from the BNP, Jatiya Party (JaPa), and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB). The three parties have literally been struggling in their election campaigns, with only nine days left to polls day. 

At other wards of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka Tribune observed that more or less all the BNP, JaPa and CPB nominated candidates for the February 1 polls were up against enormous challenges in their campaigns.

File photo of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) building | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneSpeaking to Dhaka Tribune, BNP Standing Committee Member and the party's DNCC elections coordinator, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, said: "You media people know the reasons why we are struggling with our electioneering. 

"Our leaders and party members are continuously getting threats from the law enforcement agencies as well as from ruling party activists. Our party workers have to live in their local areas once the polls are over and that is why they are not taking too many risks." 

"You also know that they [the ruling party] will not threaten us when the media is present," he added.

When contacted, the CPB DNCC mayoral candidate Sajedul Huq Rubel, said: "I and my supporters are conducting our election campaign with the party symbol 'sickle' across Dhaka North City Corporation.

"Actually we do not have the intention or the capacity to go beyond the election budget. But ruling party candidates are spending huge sums of money and that is why their posters are more visible throughout the city. This does not mean that they [Awami League] are too popular among the voters.”

"We are collecting funds from our party comrades and trying our utmost to reach out to the voters of DNCC," he added. 

Khan Asaduzzaman Masum, head of CPB's media cell for the Dhaka city elections, said: "Leaders and activists of the ruling party, in different areas of the city, have interfered with and obstructed our election campaign. 

"When CPB's mayoral candidate for DNCC was conducting a rally in Mohammadpur, a truck of ruling party men with speakers on it started playing loud music to disrupt our campaign. When we told them to stop they attacked us.

"In Uttara, Jubo League men also threatened us during electioneering. You [media] must have heard about the candidates of other political parties being obstructed by Awami League leaders and activists."

 File Photo: Dhaka South City Corporation Building | Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

"We submitted our complaints to the Election Commission regarding such incidents but we do not know what exactly that it is doing to stop this," he added.

Meanwhile, the JaPa mayoral candidate for DSCC, Haji Saifuddin Milon, claimed that he had been conducting his election campaign regularly as he is a native of Old Dhaka. 

Syed Abu Hossain Babla, JaPa presidium member and the party's DSCC polls coordinator, told Dhaka Tribune, "Our candidates are electioneering properly but in some areas miscreants have damaged and torn down our posters and banners."

"People are not aware of the correct scene of our campaign because of less media coverage!"

Denying the allegations made by the leaders and candidates of other political parties, Abdur Rahman, Awami League presidium member, said: "It is their [other political parties’] failure as political parties that their candidates, activists and supporters could not put up posters for the Dhaka city elections as they lack the organizational strength of the Awami League." 

Awami League Joint General Secretary A F M Bahauddin Nasim said: "It is an old practice of the BNP to blame the Awami League for everything. Actually the party never wanted to participate in the polls properly. Its aim is to defame Bangladesh by making bogus allegations."

Sharjin Sharif also contributed to this report 

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