With only 10 days to go for the 11th parliamentary election, hardly any poster or banner sporting BNP electoral symbol -- “sheaf of paddy” -- can be seen in Chattogram city while those of Awami League candidates are flooding the port city's every nook and corner.
Candidates from the BNP-led alliance have alleged that not only the ruling party men but also law enforcers have been tearing off their posters and banners. In addition, their party activists are also being attacked while trying to put those up in different areas.
“Accompanied by the ruling party men, police have removed my posters and banners from various parts of the city. They have also arrested several of my activists while campaigning,” alleged BNP vice-chairman Abdullah Al Noman, who is contesting the polls from Chattogram-10 constituency.
He alleged that the ruling party men were snatching away campaign materials from his supporters and handing them over to police. “I have never experienced such a situation in my political career,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
“They even launched an attack on our Victory Day procession, although it was not an election event,” he alleged. Noman alleged that they have already informed the returning officer regarding the matter but are yet to get any result.
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, who is contesting the polls from Chattogram-11 constituency, told The Daily Star, “How will my activists hang posters when they cannot even accompany me during campaign?”
“On December 12, they [the ruling party men] attacked us when we were conducting campaign in Madarbari area. Police, however, arrested one of my activists instead of taking action against the attackers,” he claimed.
“On the same date, police picked up my chief election coordinator Md Sikander soon after an UK embassy delegation left my house after a meeting,” he alleged.
Mentionable, Dr Shahadat Hossain, president of the city unit BNP, who is contesting the polls from Chattogram-9, was arrested on November 7 in Dhaka. He has been in jail since.
Maruful Hoque Chowdhury, personal secretary of Shahadat, alleged, “The ruling party men are removing our posters and banners indiscriminately. We will file a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner soon.”
Although posters and banners of BNP-led alliance candidates are scarce, those of AL-led alliance candidates including Afsarul Amin Chowdhury, MA Latif
and Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel are flooding their respective constituencies.
Afsarul, vice president of the city unit AL and candidate from Chattogram-10, said, “BNP's allegation is not true. Rather than campaigning, they are trying to question the election environment.”
“They should take pictures of the places they hang posters or banners to show whether those have been removed,” he added.
Chattogram Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mahbubor Rahman said they are yet to receive any formal complaint in this regard. “I don't think any police member would do such things. If someone else had done it, we would take actions upon proof.”
Contacted, Divisional Commissioner Abdul Mannan, returning officer of six constituencies in the city, said it is not believable that law enforcers are removing posters and banners of BNP candidates. Those who are raising such allegations could not show any evidence, he added.
“If they can show such evidence, we will take necessary action against those responsible, whoever they may be,” he added.