Except for Awami League candidate, all other mayoral aspirants in Rajshahi yesterday demanded deployment of army for their and voters' security.
BNP candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul urged for army deployment seven days ahead of the election, scheduled to be held on July 30.
Describing the situation in Rajshahi as “terrible”, Bulbul claimed, “Only deployment of army can alleviate the sense of fear prevailing among voters.”
While campaigning in Laxmipur area of the city, he alleged that Awami League men have been spreading panic among the voters. “The AL activists attacked our men, chased away my campaigners, and even some policemen had threatened our men,” he said.
He was accompanied by BNP standing committee member Gayeswar Chandra Roy and former Rajshahi city mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu.
Independent mayoral candidate Murad Morshed also said the Election Commission should deploy army if they think it is necessary for holding a free and fair election.
“I am not seeing the situation in favour of a fair election,” he said while campaigning in Pathanpara area.
The EC had remained silent for nine days when the AL candidate covered the city with large banners and other campaign materials, leaving few spaces for others, he alleged.
Jatiya Party's Habibur Rahman said, “I don't feel safe while campaigning.” He alleged that AL men misbehave with other campaigners. He also demanded army deployment for ensuring a proper atmosphere for voting.
Islami Andolon Bangladesh's Shafikul Islam echoed him.
Refuting the allegations, Awami League candidate AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said army deployment is unnecessary. He was speaking to journalists in Baharampur area.
“We may talk against each other at meetings, but we always stay together. The history of politics in Rajshahi is that of all parties staying together peacefully,” Liton said.
“Those who are demanding army deployment are afraid as people are with us,” he added.