Musclemen, black money big concern | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 28, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 28, 2011

Comilla CityElection 2012

Musclemen, black money big concern

Though the voters have so far seen a violence-free campaign for the maiden Comilla City Corporation polls, they are very much concerned about the criminal records of some candidates and use of black money and illegal arms.
Citizens and civil society leaders have also expressed worry about the alleged involvement of criminals in the campaigns of two key mayoral aspirants -- Afzal Khan and Monirul Hoque Sakku.
According to police, over 70 out of 287 councillor aspirants have criminal records.
The Election Commission has identified 47 out of 65 polling centres as vulnerable considering the criminal records of the candidates and the number of voters of the respective wards.
Returning Officer Abdul Baten yesterday said the law enforcers are conducting special drives to arrest the listed criminals. A few of them have been arrested already and many others have left the area.
“No one will get a chance to use black money and musclemen in the elections,” mentioned Baten after attending a meeting of the law and order coordination cell.
Contacted, Ali Akbar Masum, general secretary of Sujan Comilla chapter, said criminals are still in the campaigns of two key mayor hopefuls. “The drives against them should be strengthened. Even the candidates should desert the criminals,” he insisted.
Regarding the usage of black money, Akbar said they have already talked to the authorities on this issue. “Even we have discussed it with the mayoral candidates and they have promised to us that they will not distribute black money to influence the voters. I hope they will stand by their promise.”
“A mayor candidate's son who was sentenced to 20 years for possessing illegal arms is campaigning for his father,” pointed out a local businessman wishing anonymity.
“Sakku is also not free of such allegations. The authorities should consider the issue seriously,” he maintained.
However, both Afzal and Sakku had earlier denied the allegations.
Famed singer Asif Akbar, also a member of BNP central committee, yesterday alleged that a vital aspirant mayor, a local BNP leader and a local Awami League lawmaker are planning to distribute black money.
“People will take up positions in every area and will stay there round the clock before the polling day to prevent distribution of black money,” he added.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda will visit Comilla today to oversee the preparations of the commission and the local administration to ensure free and fair elections scheduled for January
5. The CEC will hold a meeting with the candidates and another with the officials concerned regarding the law and order, said sources at the EC.

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