Setting foot in Noakhali-5 constituency -- made up of Kabirhat and Companiganj upazilas -- one may think that no one from the BNP is contesting for this seat in the December 30 polls.
Hardly any posters sporting the party's electoral symbol -- “sheaf of paddy” -- can be seen around.
This is despite the fact that heavyweight candidate and BNP leader barrister Moudud Ahmed is running for the seat against Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader and six others.
Though there are very few BNP campaign materials, posters and banners carrying Quader's photographs and his party's electoral symbol “boat” have flooded at least 15 important points along the 20km stretch of a road that connect the two upazilas with the rest of the district.
Some posters of other contenders were also seen in places.
Talking to reporters on Saturday, Moudud said there were no posters left in the constituency as AL men had removed all of them. He claimed that his party men came under attack when they tried to paste posters or campaign using loud speakers.
Around 200 BNP men were injured in attacks while police arrested 19 others, he alleged at a press conference in Noakhali town.
Khijir Hayat Khan, president of Companiganj unit AL, however, said Moudud's allegation was baseless.
“We do not bar anyone from pasting posters or electioneering. BNP men did not paste posters possibly as part of their strategy to gain people's sympathy,” he said, adding that people “were eagerly waiting to vote for 'boat'.”
Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Companiganj Police Station, said Moudud had printed few posters. “We will take steps if the posters are found to be torn,” he said.
Visiting at least five link roads in the district, apart from the main road, Moudud's poster could be seen at only two points.
Talking to over 50 locals in both the upazilas, around 35 told this correspondent that BNP men could not paste posters as AL men guarded the area.
Asked about the lack of BNP posters, a tea stall vendor at Kabirhat upazila laughed out and said BNP men could not even gather in the town since campaigning began.
“Who will paste the posters?” he asked.
Another local, a restaurant worker in Companiganj town, said BNP men initially tried to paste posters and campaign but that had not been the case in the past four or five days.