BNP mayoral candidate for Dhaka South City Corporation Ishraque Hossain yesterday said that his party leaders and activists would remain active to thwart “the ruling quarter’s threat to grab voting centres” in today’s elections.
“The ruling party’s [backed] activists are being gathered in Dhaka from different districts in order to grab polling centres; we would not accept such irregularity and our activists would guard centres tomorrow,” Ishraque told reporters after holding a meeting with Brent Christensen, political counselor of the US embassy in Dhaka.
The candidate of BNP’s election symbol “sheaf of paddy” said he had informed Christensen about the latest election situations including probable activities of the ruling party on polls day, recent arrests and attacks on his party leaders and activists.
“The meeting was pre-scheduled, as he [Christensen] wanted to know the latest update about the Dhaka north and south city corporation elections from all candidates including me,” he added.
Ishraque, responding to a query, told reporters that, “Only the Almighty can say what will happen tomorrow [February 1].”
“But we can at least say the ruling party activists would try to establish their supremacy -- what we saw in previously held elections [under the government],” he added.
Referring to some recent surveys run by private TV channels and newspapers, the BNP candidate said his election symbol “sheaf of paddy” is taking a lead of around 80 percent in the elections.
“Sensing an absolute defeat in the election, the ruling quarter is hatching a plan to thwart the victory of the sheaf of paddy,” he alleged.
Ishraque said BNP leaders and activists would “guard” the polling centres to create a congenial atmosphere for people to cast vote smoothly.
After the meeting, Ishraque offered Juma prayers at Gopibagh Jame Masjid in Old Dhaka. Later, he visited the grave of his father Sadeque Hossain Khoka, former mayor of undivided Dhaka City Corporation, at Jurain graveyard.
Party sources said Ishraque is scheduled to cast his vote today at Shahid Shahjahan Government Primary school, near his birthplace Gopibagh.
On Thursday night, in a video posted on his Facebook page, Ishraque said BNP leaders and activists would support voters to cast their votes smoothly on polls day, “overcoming all obstacles and fears from AL men.”
On January 29, Awami League presidium member Abdur Rahman at a programme at Dhaka University’s TSC asked Chhatra League leaders and activists to “occupy and control” the polling centres on election-day morning.