Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday claimed that no passenger suffered during the party delegation's electioneering tour to the northern districts by train on Friday.
The passengers spontaneously participated in the electioneering programmes organised at different railway stations in the northern districts, said the minister who led the AL team that took a passenger train to launch its campaign for the upcoming national polls.
The minister was talking to reporters at a press conference held at Saidpur Airport in Nilphamari.
Quader, also the minister for road transport and bridges, made the claim refuting media reports on the ordeal of passengers as the train, Nilsagar Express, was over five hours late because of the ruling party's programmes held at stations.
The minister said no passenger suffered during the journey. “Several lakh people attended the programmes. Not a single untoward incident occurred,” he added.
“Media often spreads propaganda. They did so during quota reform movement and student protests for safe roads. People have proved yesterday that BNP does not even qualify for an opposition party,” Quader said.
Asked about the election-time government, the minister said it will be a small cabinet.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, AL Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak, and AL Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury were present at the press briefing, among others.
Train schedules were in disarray on Friday, as the AL delegation's 441km trip started at 8:00am from Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka. The train, which was supposed to reach Nilphamari station at 5:30pm, finally made it around 10:00pm.
Quader addressed 11 scheduled rallies and two unscheduled ones, and sought vote for “boat”, the election symbol of the ruling party.
The minister and other members of his team boarded the train as ordinary passengers and around 90 tickets -- of AC cabin and chair coach -- were purchased for them. Around 900 passengers were on the train when it set out for Nilphamari.