It was a busy day at the office of the returning officer in the capital's Segunbagicha yesterday.
Being the last day, candidates from all the major parties along with their supporters thronged the office throughout the day to submit their nomination papers for Dhaka's 15 constituencies.
In Dhaka, new faces dominated BNP while mostly sitting lawmakers of Awami League submitted their nominations. Almost all the AL aspirants submitted their forms in person while most of the BNP aspirants filed theirs through representatives.
No violation of electoral code of conduct was reported as the aspirants or their representatives from both the major parties -- AL and BNP -- submitted papers accompanied by five to 10 party members.
Only three BNP leaders contested polls from Dhaka city earlier while the rest are new faces -- mostly family members of former lawmakers. Salauddin Ahmed, Mirza Abbas and Abdul Mannan had earlier contested election from Dhaka.
The new faces include Abbas' wife Afroza Abbas; Salauddin's son Tanvir Ahmed; former lawmaker SA Khaleque's son SA Siddique Saju; former footballer Aminul Islam; BNP leader Abdul Kayum's wife Shamim Ara Begum; BNP's special affairs secretary Asaduzzaman Ripon; former lawmaker and businessman MA Hasem's son Showkat Aziz Russell, and former Jubo Dal leader Saiful Alam Nirob.
On the other hand, Awami League leader Sadek Khan and veteran actor Akbar Hossain Pathan, popularly known as Farooque, are the new AL aspirants.
Awami League lawmakers Sahara Khatun, Fazle Noor Taposh, Ilias Uddin Mollah and Habibur Rahman Mollah submitted nominations yesterday while most other AL aspirants submitted theirs on Tuesday.
Besides, Gonoforum leaders Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Subrata Chowdhury submitted their nomination forms for Dhaka 7 and 6 constituencies respectively yesterday.
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad filed his nomination paper for Dhaka-17. Party leader SM Faisal Chisti submitted it on Ershad's behalf. Chisti submitted his for Dhaka-11.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Shafiqur Rahman submitted his nomination for Dhaka-15 under BNP ticket. Party's organising secretary Matiur Rahman Akand submitted the form for him.
Dhaka city Jamaat leader Selim Uddin also submitted nomination form for the same constituency as a backup candidate. He is contesting as an independent candidate.
Ganasamhati Andolon's Chief Coordinator Zonayed Saki submitted his for Dhaka-12 as an independent candidate.
Since morning, the room of Dhaka Divisional Commissioner's office, where assistant returning officers (ARO) were completing necessary formalities, was almost packed with aspirants and their associates and journalists. After completing formalities there, they submitted the nominations papers to the returning officer (RO) at an adjacent room.
After lunch, police barred additional people from entering the RO office, which led to altercations with supporters of the aspirants.
Meanwhile, AROs had to work till 6:00pm as several aspirants came to the office a few minutes before the closing time at 5:00pm.
RO KM Ali Azam later told reporters that they did not receive any complaint about violation of electoral code of conduct. “We are committed to hold a free and fair election and have taken necessary measures to execute rules and directives of the Election Commissioners,” he said.
He informed that only one candidate submitted nomination paper online. Azmira Sultana, an independent candidate, submitted hers for Dhaka-14.
A huge number of law enforcers were deployed in the area to avert any untoward situation. A total of 32 returning officers worked at six counters to collect nomination letters of candidates for Dhaka's 15 constituencies, said KM Ali Azam.
In total, 213 candidates submitted nominations for the 15 constituencies, said Mohammad Shahjalal, an ARO of Dhaka.
Aspirants for the five seats -- Dhaka 1,2,3,19,20 -- outside the metropolitan area have submitted their nomination papers at the offices of respective AROs.
'EC DIDN'T ACCEPT NOMINATION'
BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas last night alleged that the Election Commission did not accept his nomination paper for Dhaka-9 constituency.
“The returning officer did not accept his nomination paper for Dhaka-9,” Mizanur Rahman Sohel, personal secretary of Mirza Abbas, told The Daily Star.
The BNP leader, however, has submitted nomination paper for Dhaka-8 constituency while his wife Afroza Abbas submitted hers for Dhaka-9, said Sohel. Abbas submitted the nominations through his representatives, he added. The Daily Star could not get comments of the returning officer in this regard.