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Grassroots hopes for a return to electoral politics

  • Published at 02:14 am December 23rd, 2016
Grassroots hopes for a return to electoral politics
BNP activists in Narayanganj enthusiastically participated in the city corporation election yesterday. Voting ended for the second Narayanganj city polls yesterday with a remarkable absence of any violent or confrontational incidents. Many of BNP’s grassroots activists told the Dhaka Tribune that the festive and peaceful environment had raised their hopes of the party returning to electoral politics. Md Selim Molla, the organising secretary of Ward 17 BNP unit, said he and his fellow party men were elated to be able to return to the streets chanting slogans. “We openly worked to campaign for our candidate,” he said. “We had no candidate in the last election. Party activists are happy to be able to return to an environment of election,” Selim added. Local activists had been instructed to be on the ground until the results were announced, if the polling was peaceful, he said. At Gopnagar Government Primary School centre in Ward 18, Ruma Akhter, a polling agent for BNP-backed candidate Shakhawat Hossain Khan, said her party was actively and enthusiastically participating in the election process. “BNP agents are present in all 10 booths in this centre, even though not all booths have Awami League agents,” she said. In Siddhirganj Ward 12, at the Bar Academy Building polling centre where ruling party MP Shamim Osman marked his ballot, BNP agents were seen in abundance. Supporters were present outside the centre as well, wearing their candidate’s image and the BNP logo. In the many polling centres that this correspondent visited, BNP polling agents were present in each. In Siddhirganj, a voter named Abdul Hai told the Dhaka Tribune he had seen energy and spirit among voters. “So many people have turned out to vote. I am hopeful that this will mark a turn towards healthy politics,” he said. The party’s central leadership, however, refused to comment on this issue. Most of the central leaders could not be reached. BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said he would not comment on this just yet. After the third phase of Union Parishad elections ended with widespread violence, BNP was found to have scraped up only one-third of the total votes.