Voters 'offered money' at the last moment
It was in Mirpur's Bhasantek slum around 10:00pm yesterday. A huge hue and cry was heard from a tent set up for coordinating the electioneering of AL-backed councillor candidate Haji Azmat Dewan.
“How come you pay them more than us?” someone was heard saying. A reporter of this newspaper was standing outside the tent during a visit to the slum area on the eve of city corporation election.
“You pay voters Tk 1,000 to 2,000 each but we got only Tk 500 working all daylong.”
The correspondent also met a group of youths who were challenging any stranger seen in the area.
“We are here to see that nobody gets the chance to pay voters more than us,” said one youth, who stopped the reporter moments ago.
Contacted, Azmat Dewan said, “It was my rival candidate Salek Mollah who is buying votes to win the polls.”
On the other hand, Salek Mollah claimed that Ajmat “had been visiting the slum with sacks full of money for the last three days.”
In Chittagong's Tulatoli slum during a visit around 7:00pm, our reporter overheard a conversation in a crowd of 10 to 12.
“We will pay Tk 200,” said one of them. “Only money won't work. You must see we get transport,” replied another.
Asked, the group said the conversation had nothing to do with Chittagong City Corporation Election. None of them was willing to talk about the election.
ARRESTS FOR 'VOTE BUYING'
Some 15 BNP and Jamaat activists were detained yesterday allegedly for “buying votes” for mayoral and councillor candidates in Dhaka on the eve of the city corporation elections, police say.
Police also seized about half a million taka from the detainees.
After a tip-off, police nabbed Sharfin Akter and her five associates from Mirpur's Paikpara around 1:40pm, said Jahangir Alam Sarkar, acting deputy commissioner (media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Sharfin was carrying Tk 3 lakh in her handbag while buying votes for Dhaka North City Corporation's BNP-backed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal, according to Mirpur police.
Around 3:00pm, Paltan police detained BNP man Abu Sufian and Jamaat-e-Islami activist Abu Taleb in Shantinagar area with Tk 2,700.
The two were “purchasing votes” for Mirza Abbas, BNP's mayoral hopeful in Dhaka South City Corporation, police said.
Hazaribagh police detained local Jubo Dal leader Mohammad Alauddin, who was carrying Tk 25,500, in Ganaktali area early yesterday.
Khilkhet police detained Firoz Mia while buying votes for BNP-backed ward-35 councillor candidate. Ramna Police caught another BNP activist named Masud around 4:00am.
BNP's ward-8 co-convenor, Abul Bashar, was caught with Tk 22,000 around 5:30pm, said a DMP press release. He was buying votes for Mirza Abbas and a councillor candidate.
Kamrangirchar police arrested Sitara Begum, Shilpi Begum and Hosne Ara from Mujiburghat in Borogram in the afternoon and seized Tk 25,000 from them. They were carrying electoral leaflets though all campaigns closed at Sunday midnight, said another press release of the DMP.
According to police, the arrestees were “buying votes” for BNP-backed candidate Nayeem, who is running for ward-56 councillor.
Meanwhile, the BNP said their activists were falsely accused of distributing money and buying vote.
BNP International Affairs Secretary Asaduzzaman Khan Ripon at a press conference at the party's Naya Paltan central office said his party does not support any illegal means like “purchasing votes” to win elections.