'I was unaware about the EC’s notification. I only knew that the election campaign would end on Monday'
A number of Awami League (AL) leaders participated in the last day’s campaign for Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) polls, violating the election code issued by the Election Commission (EC), which was issued on Thursday notifying all outsiders to leave the election area from Saturday 12am.
The restriction is expected remain in place till voting day on Tuesday.
However, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader and mayoral candidate Hasan Uddin Sarker at a press conference on on Sunday morning alleged that the AL was violating the election code by involving outsiders in campaigns and taking benefits from the government.
AL leader Talukder Abdul Khalek, the mayor of Khulna City Corporation had participated in the election campaign on behalf of AL candidate Jahangir Alam in Shalna Chowrasta area while central AL Organizing Secretary Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nawfel participated in an exchange of views program at Jahangir’s residence.
“The people of Khulna were deprived of development in last five years since BNP was elected in the previous election. But this time, people have realized and voted for AL so that Khulna can be developed. I would like to request you to vote for AL candidate Jahangir in the GCC election to ensure development in Gazipur,” said Khulna Mayor Khalek, also the president of Khulna Metropolitan Awami League.
Later in the afternoon, central AL leader Nawfel sat with the journalists in an exchange of views program at Jahangir’s residence in Hurricane area on the Dhaka-Mymensingh road. But he soon gave up when journalists asked him if he was violating the election code.
Nawfel said: “I was unaware about the EC’s notification. I only knew that the election campaign would end on Monday.”
When journalists showed him the EC’s notification regarding outsider’s presence in GCC area, Nawfel said: “I am sorry. I did not know about this. I have come only to sit with you (journalists). Since this would be a violation of election code, I am leaving. The views exchange program is finished here.”
AL candidate Jahangir later arranged a press conference at his residence where a number of pro-AL outsiders including former BGMEA president Atiqul Islam and Sramik League leader Roy Ramesh Chandra were present.
Realizing their presence in GCC area would be a violation, they left the program before it started.
When asked, AL candidate Jahangir said that since Atiq and Ramesh had garment factories in the area, they could come here.
“We are conducting our last day election campaign and there is no violation of the election code. My opponent has been playing a blame game as he realized he would be defeated in the election,” Jahangir said during the press conference.
“We are not taking any benefits from the government. My opponent and his followers are threatening and manipulating the voters. We urge the authorities to ensure security so that everyone can vote peacefully in a festive mood,” he added.
Gazipur Metropolitan Awami League President Ajmatullah Khan was present during the press conference.
“I convey my gratitude to the journalists as they have pointed out the issue. We were too busy with the campaigns. Now we have learnt this and will obey the law,” Ajmatullah said regarding the violation of election code.