A 19-day election campaign for the two Dhaka city corporations polls officially began yesterday with the ruling party candidates pledging to continue the ongoing development work in the capital.
The BNP candidates said they would participate in the elections to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) for “re-establishing democracy” in the country.
The election buzz started immediately after the returning officers allotted electoral symbols to the candidates yesterday morning.
Candidates and their supporters held street meetings and conducted door-to-door campaigns.
Both returning officers warned candidates that stern actions would be taken if anyone violates the electoral code of conduct.
The campaign will continue until midnight of January 28. The voting will start at 8:00am on January 30.
DNCC returning officer (RO) Abul Kashem said, “Election is a festival. We will not allow anyone to resort to violence during the festival.”
DSCC RO Abdul Baten urged candidates to remain cautious about the overuse of loudspeakers during electioneering as the SSC exams will start on February 1.
Immediately after the electoral symbol was allotted, Awami League mayor candidate for DSCC Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh went to Demra area to launch his campaign.
“This is the beginning of a journey to build a developed Dhaka,” he said while taking part in the electioneering.
Taposh conducted door-to-door campaign and distributed leaflets among passers-by, shopkeepers and others.
BNP DSCC mayor candidate Ishraque Hossain started his election campaign after Juma prayer at the Baitul Mukarram mosque.
He was accompanied by party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir during the campaign.
“We are in a movement for the restoration of democracy,” Ishraque said.
Fakhrul said they were taking part in the election in an attempt to “reinstate democracy” and free BNP leaders Khaleda Zia from jail.
In DNCC, AL mayor candidate Atiqul Islam hit the campaign trail in Uttara after Juma prayer.
He sought people’s mandate to finish his incomplete development work.
“I will make releasing of annual income and expenditure of the mayor and ward councillors mandatory,” he pledged.
He urged the Election Commission to allow MPs to take part in the campaign.
BNP mayor candidate Tabith Awal launched his campaign in Uttara.
He said that people would cast their votes against the government’s “misrule, abduction, killing and repression”.
During the campaign, Tabith was accompanied by BNP standing committee member Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and his father Abdul Awal Mintoo.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) mayor candidate for DNCC Sajedul Haq Rubel began his campaign in Mirpur. He was accompanied by CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim.
They sought votes from citizen promising a clean and liveable Dhaka.
FEWER RUNNERS THIS TIME
The number of candidates for the offices of mayors and councillors in the upcoming Dhaka city corporations polls has dropped compared to the last Dhaka city elections in 2015.
The EC on Thursday said a total of 753 candidates will be running in the elections this year. Of them, 13 are running for the two mayor posts while 740 for councillors.
In 2015, the total number of candidates was 893 -- 36 for mayors and 857 for councillors.
In DSCC, seven candidates are vying for the office of mayor this year while 335 for general ward councillors and 82 for reserved women councillors.
In DNCC, six mayor candidates, 248 ward councillors and 75 reserved women councillors candidates are running.
In DNCC, Awami League’s Atiqul got the party symbol “boat”, BNP’s Tabith got “sheaf of paddy”, CPB’s Sajedul got “sickle”, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Sheikh Md Fazle Bari Masud got “fan”, Progressive Democratic Party’s Shahin Khan got “tiger”, and National Peoples Party’s Anisur Rahman Dewan got “mango”.
In DSCC, AL’s Taposh got “boat”, BNP’s Ishraque got “sheaf of paddy”, Jatiya Party’s Mohammad Saifuddin got “plough”, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Abdur Rahman got “fan”, Bangladesh Congress’ Md Akhtaruzzaman got “coconut” and National People’s Party’s Bahrane Sultan Bahar got “mango” and Gonofront’s Abdus Samad got “fish”.