BNP uncertain about taking part | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 06, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 06, 2010

Bhola-3 By-Election

BNP uncertain about taking part

Blames AL for deterioration of law and order; will decide after EC declares poll schedule

The participation of the main opposition BNP in the Bhola3 by-election has become uncertain due to “slide” in law and order in the constituency over the last couple of weeks.
Even BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who had a plan to visit the area, may change her decision due to the “changed situation” since the seat fell vacant.
Both BNP's Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed and Awami League's Maj (retd) Jasim Uddin are blaming each other for the deterioration of law and order in the area.
In 2008 election, Maj (retd) Jasim of AL secured 96,034 votes while his nearest contestant Hafiz bagged 83,123.
BNP Vice-chairman Maj (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, five times elected lawmaker from the constituency, yesterday told The Daily Star that his party will make a decision on the participation in the by-poll after Election Commission (EC) announces the election schedule.
EC earlier hinted that the by-poll might be held in the first week of May.
Besides Bhola, the BNP chairperson has also planned to visit all divisional headquarters and some important districts soon to whip up an anti-government campaign.
The party leaders, however, said the law and order is deteriorating day by day in Bhola-3 and many of their local leaders and activists were forced to leave the area due to attacks from the ruling party cadres and even law enforcers.
When asked about the chairperson's visit to the area, Hafiz said his party leaders are suffering political persecution by the ruling party cadres on the one hand and facing cases filed by police on the other.
Rejecting the allegation, Jasim, whose parliamentary membership was cancelled by the court on Wednesday, told reporters that it is BNP men who were behind the worsening law and order in the area.
Preferring not to be named some local Awami League leaders said when Sheikh Hasina visited Bhola in 2003 as the leader of the opposition, cadres of the then ruling BNP didn't let her get off the car at Lalmohan, an upazila under Bhola-3 constituency.
Interestingly the BNP leaders now fear for the security of their chairperson in the same constituency.
Speaker Abdul Hamid on February 10 informed the parliament about the Bhola-3 seat being vacant. Earlier on February 7, 2010, the commission in a gazette notification declared that the seat fell vacant as Jasim lost his parliament membership.
The High Court on February 26, 2009 cancelled the parliament membership of Jasim for providing false information to the authorities prior to the election. The Appellate Division on October 18 last year upheld the HC verdict.
“Four candidates contested the last parliament election in Bhola-3. Now I demand the by-election between the remaining three,” Hafiz said, adding that they want the commission to take necessary steps to ensure a fair and acceptable election.

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