No level playing field

January 28, 2020

No level playing field

Claims BNP at meet with CEC; AL calls for arrest of ‘goons’ gathering in the capital

Staff Correspondent

The BNP yesterday alleged that there is no level-playing field for the upcoming Dhaka City Corporations elections while Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda denied the accusation.

A BNP delegation at a meeting with the CEC also accused the ruling party candidates of violating the electoral code of conduct while campaigning for the Dhaka north and south city corporation elections scheduled for February 1.

After holding a separate meeting with the CEC the same day, Awami League leaders urged the EC to take steps to arrest “outsiders and goons who are gathering in the capital ahead of the election.”

NO LEVEL-PLAYING FIELD

“Ruling party candidates are campaigning by setting up camps on footpaths, roads and by putting up posters and banners across the city — violating the electoral code of conduct,” BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury told reporters after meeting the CEC at his Election Commission office.

Claiming that the level-playing field is still elusive, Amir Khasru said that ruling party lawmakers and ministers are taking part in campaigns on behalf of AL candidates by breaching the electoral code.

“Awami League activists are attacking our candidates but no action is being taken against them, rather our party men are facing cases. There is no security for our candidates,” he said.

Apart from this, AL men are removing BNP candidates’ publicity materials like posters and banners in their areas, the BNP leader said.

He also criticised the activities of the executive magistrates who were deployed to monitor such violations and said their activities are not visible.

“Our candidates are abiding by the electoral code fully while Awami League men are breaching it.”

He also lambasted the EC for allowing some observer groups ahead of the elections. “They will work in favour of a party in the election and on election day, they will say the poll was held in a free and fair manner.”

AL CANDIDATES FOLLOWING CODE

Co-chairman of AL’s national election conducting committee and the Prime Minister’s Political Advisor HT Imam, however, denied the BNP’s allegations saying, “Our candidates are following the electoral code of conduct.”

While talking to reporters after meeting the CEC yesterday, he said the attack on BNP candidate Ishraque Hossain was “a pre-planned and staged incident”.

“We have informed the commission and handed over evidence proving that the incident was pre-planned and staged,” Imam said.

AL presidium member Jahangir Kabir Nanak urged the EC to take steps to arrest “outsiders and goons” gathering in the capital ahead of election for the sake of security and safety of the citizens.

LEVEL-PLAYING FIELD PREVAILS: CEC

CEC KM Nurul Huda said that only two incidents have taken place during electioneering and there are no chance of the election atmosphere being spoiled.

He said that police and executive magistrate are investigating the attacks on Dhaka south city corporation mayor candidate Ishraque from BNP. “We are yet to get the investigation report. We will take action against those involved after investigation,” he said while talking to reporters.

On BNP’s allegation that the ruling party has set up election camps on footpaths and roads, the CEC said they don’t have any information in this regard. “But we will evacuate all camps on roads and footpaths,” he added.

Regarding AL’s allegations of BNP goons gathering in Dhaka ahead of the polls, Huda said, “We told them [Awami League] that they have to come up with specific allegations.”

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