While announcing the allotments, respective returning officers warned the candidates over the matter saying that they would strictly monitor the campaigns so that no candidate can breach the electoral code of conduct
All candidates in the race for the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) elections have begun their campaigns after allocation of the electoral symbols.
There are reports that supporters of the 13 mayoral aspirants have already started electioneering soon after the symbol allotment. However, many alleged that a number of candidates and their followers campaigned illegally even before the symbols were allocated.
While announcing the allotments, respective returning officers warned the candidates over the matter saying that they would strictly monitor the campaigns so that no candidate can breach the electoral code of conduct.
DNCC Returning Officer Md Abul Kashem announced the allotment of symbols to six mayor aspirants at the National Institute of Local Government at Agargaon at 9:30am.
Later he also allotted symbols to 251 candidates vying for general councillor posts and 77 others for reserve councillor seats of Dhaka North.
DSCC Returning Officer Abdul Baten made the announcement for seven aspirants of Dhaka South City mayoral post at Sadeque Hossain Khoka Community Center at the capital’s Gopibagh area at 10am.
Afterwards, he distributed the symbols to 335 councillor aspirants, and 82 reserved councillor post candidates.
Elections to the two city corporations are slated for January 30 after 18 days of campaigning. The Election Commission (EC) said that the entire balloting will be held through electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Along with electing the mayors, voters in Dhaka north city will also elect 54 ward councillors and 18 reserved women councillors while in Dhaka south city, 75 ward councillors and 25 reserved women councillors will be elected.
In DNCC polls, "boat" has been allotted to Awami League’s Atiqul Islam, "paddy sheaf" for BNP’s Tabith Mohammed Awal, "hand fan" for Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Sheikh Md Fazle Bari Masud, "mango" for NPP’s Md Anisur Rahman Dewan and "sickle" for Communist Party Bangladesh’s Ahammad Sajedul Hauqe.
Meanwhile, Awami League-endorsed mayoral aspirant Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh bagged “boat”, and BNP-backed Ishraque Hossain, was allocated with "paddy sheaf" symbol for the DSCC election.
Plus, the "plough" symbol went to Jatiya Party's Mohammed Saifuddin Milon, the "winnowing-fan" to Islami Andolon's Md Abdur Rahman, "mango" to NPP’s Bahrane Sultan Bahar, "coconut" to Bangladesh Congress' Md Akhtaruzzaman and "fish" to Abdus Samad from Gonofront.
DNCC’s mayor aspirant and Awami League candidate Atiqul campaigned in Uttara’s Sector-4 later in the day.
In a press briefing at his Uttara campaigning office, he urged the Election Commission (EC) to allow local lawmakers to take part in electioneering, to help ensure a level-playing field before the polls.
“As you are seeing, there is a kind of bar to MPs campaigning for city polls candidates. I think as the MPs are members of the party (Awami League), so they also want to campaign for me,” he said.
BNP’s Tabith, contesting for the same post in DNCC, also campaigned on Friday. With scores of leaders, and activists, the BNP leader marched down several streets at Sector-7 of Uttara after the Juma prayers.
Holding a brief rally there, Tabith said: “I hope that the EC will listen to the strong voice raised by the people in today’s event and duly will take measures to hold a neutral election.”
Later on, the campaign encompassed areas including Sector-10, Diyabari, Khalpar of Sector-12 and their neighborhoods.
Electioneering was also reported in other parts of the city.
Allegations of defying electoral campaign
While allocating the symbols, DNCC Returning Officer Baten Kashem said: “The polls campaign begins today (Friday) with the allocation of symbols and we’ll not let anyone spoil the election atmosphere."
Terming the elections a festival, he said: “We’ll not let anyone to turn it into a conflict.”
DSCC Returning Officer Baten said complaints were lodged against a few candidates for hanging posters even before the start of the formal campaign.
“We asked the executive magistrate to monitor the issue,” said Baten.