NCC polls: The heat is on, as barbs rule campaigns
Electioneering in the Narayanganj city polls has heated up as the two major mayor hopefuls have accused each other of foiling the peaceful election atmosphere.
Ruling Awami League nominee Selina Hayat Ivy alleged that her rival Taimur Alam Khandakar, an independent candidate and also a BNP leader, was making baseless allegations about the polls atmosphere with a view to foil the atmosphere.
Taimur, on the other hand, complained that law enforcers were harassing his campaigners and threatening voters and demanded the prime minister's intervention in this regard to hold the January 16 polls in a free and fair manner.
Police officials, however, denied the allegations saying they were working hard to hold a free and fair election and carrying out regular drives so that no one can hamper the peaceful polls atmosphere in the city where more than five lakh people are eligible to vote.
Starting their campaigning early yesterday, the two candidates visited different areas of the city corporation.
Ivy, also an AL leader, said the local administration should remain alert so that the polls atmosphere remains peaceful and voters can exercise their franchise.
Asked about the allegation of harassment of Taimur's campaigners, the immediate past Narayanganj mayor said she was not aware of it. She demanded arrest of those possessing illegal arms to maintain a congenial voting atmosphere in the city.
On Monday, Narayanganj-4 AL lawmaker Shamim Osman extended support to Ivy and his supporters started campaigning for the mayor hopeful.
Ivy, however, said Shamim cannot join electioneering as it would be a violation of the electoral code of conduct.
She said it did not matter who was supporting whom. "My strength is my party men and also the people of Narayanganj."
BNP leader Taimur was relieved of two party posts over contesting the election going against the party's decision. Many local BNP leaders have joined his campaign.
His election coordinator Monirul Islam, also the acting convenor of Narayanganj BNP, was arrested by police on Monday.
Taimur alleged that the Election Commission failed to create a level playing field for all candidates and the local administration was also biased towards the ruling party mayoral candidate.
He further complained that police were raiding houses of his supporters and harassing them.
"This harassment and intimidation of the opposition men show why many political parties are boycotting the polls. I hope that the prime minister will pay special attention so that people's hopes and aspirations is reflected in the polls. Otherwise, her image will be tarnished," Taimur told journalists at a press conference in the city yesterday.
Sounding a note of warning to the local administration, the mayor hopeful said he will stage a sit-in in front of the office of the Narayanganj superintendent of police if the harassment of opposition men goes on.
Ivy, meanwhile, said she does not have any power to influence the local administration to work in her favour.
She also asked why the administration would work for her. "I think this is his [Taimur's] new election campaign strategy."
Jayedul Alam, superintendent of Narayanganj police, said the overall election atmosphere in the city was very peaceful till now and there would be no chaos centring the polls.
Stating that five people have been arrested so far, the SP said among the seven mayor candidates, only one independent runner is raising allegations which are baseless.
"Police do not work for any specific party. It will do whatever is needed to hold a free and fair election," he told The Daily Star yesterday.