AL candidates on campaign trail
While the Awami League and other parties' mayor favourites yesterday formally started their campaigns for the city corporation polls in Dhaka and Chittagong, two BNP-backed candidates were still busy fighting legal battles.
Apart from electioneering in person, candidates also wooed voters through social networking websites.
Under the electoral code of conduct, candidates can campaign only for 21 days ahead of the polling day. The campaign will continue till April 26 midnight as voting will start at 8:00am on April 28.
Tomorrow is the last date for withdrawal of candidacy. The Election Commission will allocate electoral symbols for the candidates on April 10.
Meanwhile, some pro-BNP professionals last night announced formation of the 1001-member “Adarsha Dhaka Gorar Andolon” to work for the party mayor favourites in Dhaka.
Former Dhaka University vice-chancellor Prof Emajuddin Ahmed and journalist leader Shawkat Mahmud have been made convener and member secretary of the platform, said Sayrul Kabir Khan, a member of the BNP chief's media wing.
Annisul Huq, the AL-blessed mayor aspirant in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), kicked off his campaign by offering prayers at his mother's grave at Banani in the morning.
He visited the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi, National Memorial at Savar and the martyred intellectuals' memorials at Rayerbazar and Mirpur.
Annisul, a top businessman, at different areas shared his views with reporters on the problems and prospects of DNCC.
He was accompanied by AL leaders and activists, including party Joint General Secretary Dipu Moni.
“For the residents of Dhaka, the most important thing is to make the city green and safe. I would initiate a master plan for turning the capital into a green city within three years,” he said at Rayerbazar.
While campaigning at Karwan Bazar kitchen market, Annisul said the city's problems had already been identified and he would now go for the solutions.
Blessed by the AL, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayor hopeful Sayeed Khokon started his campaign at the Jatrabari point of Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover.
Son of late AL leader Mohammad Hanif, the first elected mayor of undivided Dhaka, Khokon said he would dedicate his life to the welfare of city residents, if elected.
“If the Almighty gives me the chance and if you [people] vote for me, I pledge that I would make Dhaka a livable city.”
Abdullah Al Kafee, the DNCC mayor favourite of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, launched his campaign at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Rayerbazar.
“If I am elected, my main target would be to free the city corporation administration from corruption,” he told The Daily Star.
Zonayed Saki, another DNCC mayor aspirant, opened his campaign at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Mirpur. He visited different areas there to woo voters.
“I want to make sure that people get access to the basic utility services,” said Saki, coordinator of Gono Sanghati Andolon.
Meanwhile, BNP leader and DNCC mayor hopeful Abdul Awal Mintoo yesterday filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order that upheld the cancellation of his nomination.
Rokanuddin Mahmud appeared for Mintoo as the chamber judge Justice Hasan Foez Siddique of the apex court sent the appeal to a full bench after holding a brief hearing on it. The full bench will hear the prayer tomorrow.
In his appeal, Mintoo sought directives from the Appellate Division of the SC upon the EC to accept his nomination.
On Monday, the HC summarily dismissed his writ petition against the Dhaka divisional commissioner's order that rejected his nomination due to a procedural error.
Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Zillar Rahman on April 4 dismissed Mintoo's appeal challenging the returning officer's decision to cancel his nomination.
BNP-backed DSCC mayor hopeful Mirza Abbas has been facing 60 cases. He is waiting to secure bails from the HC in some cases to start his campaign, Abbas' personal secretary Jahangir Alam Mintu told this newspaper last night.
In a statement, Mintu said Afroza Abbas, wife of Abbas, will start the campaign today on her husband's behalf.
In the port city, the AL and BNP mayor favourites AJM Nasir Uddin and M Manjur Alam started electioneering yesterday.
The BNP yesterday in a statement blasted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for extending support to Annisul Huq in an AL meeting at Gono Bhaban and subsequent silence of the Election Commission on the matter.
The party also accused the government of using the administration and Election Commission in favour of it after the BNP decided to back candidates in the city polls.
BNP Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam Khan in the statement also said though the EC drew criticism from media and other quarters, it seemed to be unashamed.