Khaleda demands Tk 5 crore for party backing | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 10, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 10, 2009

DCC Election

Khaleda demands Tk 5 crore for party backing

Claims mayor aspirant Irad Siddiky

Irad Ahmed Siddiky, a Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) mayor aspirant, yesterday alleged that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia demanded Tk 5 crore from him in exchange for party backing in the upcoming mayoral election.
During a press briefing at his Gulshan home, Irad Ahmed, in presence of his father BNP standing committee member Tanbir Ahmed Siddiky, said, "I met the BNP chairperson and she wanted to know if I had enough money. I told her that honest and competent candidates are not supposed to have enough money. She said 'I would be very frank' and then asked for Tk 5 crore. I told her that I will not give her the money from my bank account since I am neither Mosaddak Ali Falu nor Mirza Abbas."
Refuting this allegation, BNP Chairperson's Press Secretary Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel yesterday told The Daily Star, "This is absolutely baseless, false and narrow-minded propaganda against Khaleda Zia."
"He [Irad] is not of BNP and he has no right to seek party nomination. He is spreading the propaganda using the privilege of being the son of a BNP leader. This is why the media should not encourage such defamatory statements made against a former prime minister," Maruf said.
Irad during the press briefing also said, "I am ready to accept the BNP ticket if it decides to give it to me but the BNP chief should know that I will not be servile to any dynasty."
He said, "They [BNP] will prove themselves to be a party with vested interest if they do not nominate me…it will prove that they are not interested in the welfare of Dhaka city, rather interested in grabbing power."
Coming down heavily on former DCC mayors Mohammad Hanif and Mirza Abbas and incumbent Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Irad said all of them have failed. "How does a responsible political party nominate people like Mirza Abbas, Sadeque Hossain Khoka or Hannan Shah who has a corruption record?"
"If BNP nominates these people, it will be bad for the country. I want to contest the mayoral election to change the traditional politics and non-political issues should be focused on in the mayoral elections," he said.
Irad also announced his candidature for the DCC mayoral election set for June.
"I will be a BNP-minded independent candidate," he said.
He also said there are two streams in BNP -- one is 'Zia stream' and the other is 'Khaleda stream'. "I want to be a BNP-minded candidate of the 'Zia stream'."
Later, he distributed a 76-point election manifesto and explained some of his plans to turn Dhaka into a beautiful digital city.
When asked about Irad's allegation, his father Tanbir Ahmed Siddiky said, "Madam [Khaleda Zia] said at least Tk 5 crore will be needed for the election as there are 15 constituencies in Dhaka. It was a private discussion and he should not have disclosed it in public."
Tanbir also said Irad lacks political acumen and he is a simple-minded person but he is "a highly-educated expert and researcher".

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