AL MP flouts rules, seeks votes for party nominees
Violating electoral law, a ruling Awami League lawmaker in Jhalakathi yesterday sought votes for party-nominated chairman candidates in the union parishad polls scheduled for Tuesday.
The BNP, meanwhile, alleged that AL men attacked and harassed its candidates and supporters in some districts. Violence also took places in a few union parishads, centring on the polls.
Lawmaker of Jhalakathi-2 constituency Bazlul Haque Haroon attended three public meetings at Kahtalia upazila, organised to mark the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and National Children's Day yesterday.
He sought votes in every meeting in favour of “boat,” the electoral symbol of the ruling party.
“Boat is the symbol of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Hasina assumed power with the boat symbol. Now, the boat symbol is running the country. So, the victory of the symbol must be ensured,” he said, while delivering a speech at one of the gatherings.
He gave similar statements in two other events.
The meetings were held at Marichbunia Bazar under Patkelghata union parishad, at Amua Shaheed Raja Degree College playground under Amua UP and at Kathalia upazila parishad premises under Kathalia union.
Chairman aspirants of Patkelghata and Amua were present in the meetings held in their respective unions.
As per the electoral codes of conduct, ministers and MPs are barred from campaigning for votes in favour of any candidate. Anyone can be fined Tk 10,000 or imprisoned for six months or both for violating rules.
Talking to The Daily Star last evening, lawmaker Haroon denied making such statements and said the meetings had been arranged to observe the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Returning officer of Patkelghata and Amua UP polls Jiad Hossen said he was not aware of the MP seeking votes for AL candidates.
Earlier on March 5, AL lawmaker for Barguna-2 constituency Shawkat Hasanur Rahman Rimon violated electoral rules by seeking votes for an AL candidate at a public meeting in Barguna.
Police 10 days later filed a case against Rimon as per instructions of the Election Commission for the violation of electoral rules.
The EC on March 9 issued a show-cause notice to AL lawmaker of Pabna-2 constituency Azizul Huq Arzu for similar offence.
Meanwhile, BNP men have been harassed in some districts. Polls-related violence also took place in a few UPs.
In Khulna, the district unit BNP at a press conference yesterday said AL men continued attacking BNP men and their residences to create panic.
False cases were filed against BNP's candidates to pressurise them to quit the electoral race, said Nazrul Islam Manju, a BNP leader of Khulna, adding that amid such a situation voters have doubts as to whether the polls would be free and fair.
In Bagerhat, AL activists allegedly attacked residences of two BNP-nominated chairman aspirants of Khontakata UP under Sharonkhola upazila and Ramchandrapur UP under Morelganj upazila yesterday.
The BNP candidates alleged that AL men warned them not to participate in the electoral race.
The EC, meanwhile, suspended the election to Mulghor UP under Fakirhat upzila after finding an allegation by the BNP to be true that the party's candidate there could not submit nomination papers due to obstruction by criminals. The election was scheduled for March 22.
In Pirojpur, supporters of AL-nominated chairman candidate allegedly attacked supporters of an independent candidate at Safa Bazar of Dhanisafa union under Mathbaria upazila yesterday.
Two supporters of the independent candidate were injured and eight motorcycles vandalised, reports our correspondent.
Elections to 732 UPs will be held on March 22 in the first phase, 643 UPs on March 31 in the second phase and 680 UPs in the third phase on April 23. Some 2,200 more UPs will go to polls in three other phases until June.