Independents, rebels lobby for fair polls
As an independent chairman candidate in the ongoing Union Parishad polls, she does not want any extra favour; rather her only expectation from the Election Commission (EC) is fair polls.
However, Momtaz Parvin has enough reasons to be worried over the UP polls, which have already witnessed deadly violence in the previous four phases. She fears her rival candidate may unleash terror and occupy polling stations on the election day on May 28.
"I just want a peaceful atmosphere where voters will get equal chance to cast their votes fearlessly,” said Momtaz Parvin, who is contesting at Bhawal union under Saltha upazila in Faridpur.
She was talking to The Daily Star at the EC Secretariat yesterday after filing an application with the commission seeking necessary steps to ensure a congenial atmosphere for fair polling.
“Supporters of my rival candidate are intimidating voters and planning to hire armed criminals on the voting day to occupy poll centres. I want the commission to take necessary measures to prevent any such misdeeds,” she said.
Not only Parvin, demands for fair and peaceful polls are getting louder from many other candidates.
The four phases of polls, which were held in between March 22 and May 8, were marred by massive violence and irregularities. Around 84 people were killed and 6,000 injured due to violence.
Several candidates are now lobbying hard to ensure peaceful and fair voting in the next phases.
“Supporters of my rival candidates are regularly making showdown brandishing arms to intimidate voters,” said Sultan Khan, an independent candidate of Bharara UP under Sadar upazila in Pabna.
“I have already talked to the district election officer and the upazila election officer and will submit a written application to the deputy commissioner requesting necessary steps for peaceful voting on June 4,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Even the ruling Awami League-nominated chairman candidates in a number of UPs are in fear of violence and irregularities.
Abul Khayer Mohammad Ali Khokon, an AL-nominated chairman candidate of Guagachiya UP under Gazaria upazila in Munshiganj, has sought additional security in polling stations fearing violence and irregularities.
Three polling stations in that UP have been dubbed as most vulnerable and might be occupied by rival candidates, Khokon said in an application to the EC yesterday.
“I strongly demand deployment of magistrates and mobile teams of law enforcers round the clock at the centres,” the application read.
Local sources said an influential AL leader of Munshiganj is blessing an independent candidate in Guagachiya UP that will go to polls on May 28.
Saidur Rahman, a BNP-nominated chairman aspirant of Tajpur UP under Singra upazila in Natore, has meanwhile filed an appeal with the EC demanding deployment of army during the polls.
Elections to 725 UPs were held on March 22 in the first phase, 639 UPs on March 31 in the second phase, 615 UPs on April 23 in the third phase and 703 UPs on May 8 in the fourth phase.
Besides, polls to 733 UPs are slated for May 28 in the fifth phase and 724 on June 4 in the sixth phase.