Ershad's campaign yet to pick up on home ground | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:57 AM, December 26, 2018


Ershad's campaign yet to pick up on home ground

With only few days remaining for national election, supporters of HM Ershad, nominated by Awami League-led grand alliance, are still waiting for funds to conduct campaign.

On the other hand, his opponent Rita Rahman, nominated by Jatiya Oikyafront, is busy electioneering in Rangpur-3 constituency.

HM Ershad, president of Jatiya Party (JP), was elected as lawmaker from Rangpur-3 constituency in 1991, 2008 and 2014.

However, due to lack of pre-election activities and publicity, JP's position has become weak in Rangpur-3, Ershad's hometown and his stronghold in previous elections.

The constituency includes Rangpur Sadar upazila and wards 9 through 33 of Rangpur City Corporation.

These correspondents visited the Rangpur City Awami League and Jatiya Party offices in the city yesterday but could not find any party men there. 

On the other hand, BNP activists were seen busily putting up posters throughout the city, seeking votes for Rita Rahman.

Only a few posters of Ershad were spotted at places.

Fifty-five year old Moshiur Rahman, a resident of Rangpur city, said that he and many others have been voting for Ershad since 1991, but did not see any benefit.

“We have not even seen him in the city much, so why will we vote for him?” he said, venting his frustration. 

Contacted, SM Yeasir Ahmed, secretary of Jatiya Party in Rangpur metropolitan area, said campaign is being hampered due to fund crisis, but they are trying to facilitate rallies and publicity as much as possible.

“I spoke to the party chairman four days ago, who is undergoing treatment in Singapore, and he assured me that funds will arrive soon. We are yet to receive any support,” Yeasir added.

He further claimed that Awami League is not providing any support to JP men for electioneering.

Meanwhile, JP's senior leaders, including Co-chairman GM Quader, Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga and General Secretary of Rangpur unit SM Fakhar Uz-Zaman are busy electioneering in their respective constituencies.

Rejecting Yeasir's claims, Fakhar said that campaign in Rangpur-3 is going on just fine and there is coordination between AL and JP over electioneering in the area.

Asked about Ershad's absence ahead of polls, the party leaders said he is expected to arrive in Rangpur within a couple of days and take part in the campaign.

These correspondents also contacted Rezaul Karim Rezu, general secretary of Rangpur district AL. 

Rezaul said that AL leaders and activists are campaigning for Ershad across the constituency.

Oikyafront candidate Rita Rahman and her supporters were spotted electioneering in the city on Monday and Tuesday, seeking votes for her.

President of Rangpur district BNP, Saiful Islam, said party leaders and activists are campaigning for her despite fear of harassment by rivals and law enforcers.

These correspondents spoke to voters of Rangpur-3 and found that although the elderly are still supporting JP, the young and first-time voters are refusing to support and vote for Ershad.

Rakibul Islam, 21, a student of Rangpur Polytechnic Institute, said that he does not want to waste his vote by helping elect someone who never works for the constituency.

“We want someone new, who will consider our interests and work for the development of the constituency,” he said.

Two students of Begum Rokeya University also echoed the sentiments.

A total of 4,41,671 candidates would cast their votes in the constituency at 175 vote centres, though electronic voting machines.

Abdul Alim, commissioner of Rangpur Metropolitan Police, said all necessary steps have been taken to ensure a fair election. “There are no threats but we are ready to face any situation,” he added.

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