Almost all the Awami League-backed councillor candidates in the Barisal city corporation election have received the same electoral symbol, a phenomenon that is raising some eyebrows.
Most ruling party-backed candidates vying for ward councillor posts have been allocated “bullock cart” as their electoral symbol.
“It is interesting how all Awami League-supported candidates have got a single symbol, the cart,” Rafiqul Alom, secretary of Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) Barisal city unit, told The Daily Star.
However, in some wards where more than one candidate is competing from Awami League, the symbol has not gone to the party-endorsed candidate.
There is ulterior motive behind all Awami League councilor candidates being allotted the same symbol, said Anowerul Haque Tarin, join secretary of city BNP unit.
Advocate Golam Abbas Chowdhury Dulal, the president of Barisal city Awami League, refuted the claim. “We asked all our councilor candidates to choose the same symbol as per party decision. BNP could have done the same, but didn't,” he said.
FOUR AL-BACKED COUNCILLORS UNCONTESTED
Meanwhile, at least three ward councilors and one councilor from female reserve seats nominated by Awami League have been elected uncontested, according to election commission.
“Voters are being deprived of choice in the three wards, which is against the spirit a credible election,” said Rafiqul Alom.
A total of 94 candidates are contesting the polls for the positions of 30 ward commissioners, while 34 are competing for 10 women's reserved seats are taking part in the election.
Among the candidates, 29 are from Awami League, 23 from BNP, 15 from Islamic Andolon Bangladesh, four are backed by Jamaat-e-Islami, while the rest are contesting from various other banners, according to the parties' sources.
BNP has been alleging that their party-backed councillor candidates are facing pressure to quit the race.
“All our candidates are under different types of pressures, harassments and threats by ruling party members and police,” said Anowerul Haque Tarin, join secretary of city BNP unit.
Jammat-e-Islami city unit Ameer Mawlana Moazzem Hossain Helal alleged that their ward councillor candidates and supporters have been under pressure since the first day of campaign by the administration and Awami League's candidates.
“Raising allegation is a daily routine work of BNP, to raise questions about fairness of the polls; our candidates do not harass any rival candidates,” said Advocate Golam Abbas Chowdhury Dulal, the president of Barisal city Awami League unit.
Clashes broke out at different wards among councillor supporters on Wednesday, when ten supporters were injured as two groups of campaigners faced off at ward no. 20.