Edris Ali, BNP’s Chittagong city chapter office secretary said that more than one hundred of his party fellows have been arrested ahead of the polls
A sense of worry, fear, and unease is prevailing among the voters and the candidates alike ahead of the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) polls slated for Wednesday.
Lokman Hossain, a grocer of the city’s Oxygen area, said that the festivities centring on the polls are long gone.
“I am still unsure of casting my vote. I will decide in the morning if I will go to the polling centre or not,” said he.
On the other hand, first-time voters are enthusiastic about the polls.
“My name has been enrolled in the voter list and I am going to exercise my voting rights for the first time. I will go to the polling centre whatever the situation is,” said Tamanna Akhter, a private university student.
Anjuman Ara Begum, of the Khulshi area, said that she would not go to the polling centre since it’s a foregone conclusion who would win the polls.
Prof Dr Muhammad Sekander Khan, Chittagong chapter president of Sushashaner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) told Dhaka Tribune that a sense of fear has gripped the voters.
“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission and the administration to dispel the fears. However, sufficient measures have not been taken to dispel their fears. It is a positive sign that the BNP mayoral candidate has declared to fight to the last,” said Prof Khan, also vice-chancellor of East Delta University.
“The BNP mayoral candidate alleged that many of his party fellows who will act as polling agents have been arrested ahead of the polls. The BNP mayoral candidate will be hard put since polling agents cannot be replaced on short notice. In addition, the voter turnout is an indicator of the favourable electoral atmosphere,” Prof Khan added.
Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, president of Chittagong city unit of Sacheton Nagorik Committee, under Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), said that the Election Commission, administration, and the political parties should come forward to ensure an atmosphere conducive to the polls.
“People are increasingly becoming doubtful and apprehensive about polls. We do not want any further electoral violence. We expect that voters will exercise their voting rights without any fear and return home safely. It will have a damaging impact on democracy if the voters lose their interest in the polls,” he said.
Edris Ali, BNP’s Chittagong city chapter office secretary said that more than one hundred of his party fellows have been arrested ahead of the polls.
“The EC and the administration should ensure a free and fair electoral environment,” he said.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Shafiqul Islam Faruk, AL’s Chittagong city chapter publicity secretary claimed that a festive atmosphere is prevailing in the city.
“BNP wants to make the polls questionable. Polls will be held peacefully and there is no fear of electoral violence,” he said.
Referring to the allegations of the BNP mayoral candidate, the AL leader said that the police arrested people having specific charges against them.
This time a total of seven candidates, 172 councillor candidates for general wards and 57 women's reserve seat candidates have joined the electoral race.