The wait ; Election Commission says fully prepared for 11th general elections as campaign ends

The wait begins

  • Dhaka Tribune   December 28th, 2018
WEB_Boat_Awami league_Mehedi Hasan

Campaigners hold up a model boat- electoral symbol of the ruling Awami League – during an election rally in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi on Thursday Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Election Commission says fully prepared for 11th general elections as campaign ends

Campaigning for the general elections will close this morning, 48 hours before the polling is due to begin on Sunday, as candidates across the country rush to reach out to as many voters as possible.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Election Commission Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman said they had already asked the returning officers and other authorities concerned across the country to take necessary measures so no one can campaign for the polls after 8am today.

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According to the Representation of the People Order (RPO), 1972, any processions, meetings, rallies and motorcades for election campaign must be stopped 48 hours before the polling.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said all preparations for the election have been finished.

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The electioneering officially began on December 10, right after the commission allotted electoral symbols to the candidates.

A total of 1,848 candidates are contesting in 299 parliamentary seats out of 300.

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Polling in Gaibandha 3 constituency has been postponed till January next year due to the death of Jatiya Oikya Front candidate Dr TIM Fazle Rabbi, who passed away on December 20 due to old-age complications.

More than 104 million voters are expected to exercise their franchise on Sunday.

Busy campaigning by Grand Alliance candidates

Candidates from the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance were seen busy on Thursday with hectic campaigning, while candidates from the opposition largely remained unseen in the streets.

The ruling party candidates took to the streets in different constituencies across the country on Thursday morning, with huge numbers of campaigners attending rallies and processions, distributing leaflets, and doing door-to-door electioneering.

In addition, the Grand Alliance candidates ran campaigns on social media platforms.

The wave of excitement, however, did not seem to touch the opposition candidates, who said they could not get out to the streets fearing “arrest, harassment, and attacks.”

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A number of attacks on BNP and Jatiya Oikya Front candidates and their campaigns have been reported across the country over the last few days. In some places, campaigns of Awami League and Grand Alliance candidates were attacked as well.

Reaching out to voters, the Awami League candidates highlighted their development activities in the last two terms, while the opposition candidates promised to restore the rights of people and democracy in the country.

In Dhaka, all ruling party candidates, including Dhaka 13 candidate Sadek Khan, Dhaka 9 candidate Saber Hossain Chowdhury, and Dhaka 5 candidate Habibur Rahman Molla were seen in the streets electioneering on Thursday.

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Meanwhile, only two opposition candidates were seen campaigning in the capital on the last day: Dhaka 3 BNP candidate Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, and Dhaka 12 candidate from Biplobi Workers’ Party Zonayed Saki.

BNP’s Dhaka 8 candidate Mirza Abbas, Dhaka 9 candidate Afroza Abbas, and Dhaka 4 candidate Al Hajj Salahuddin alleged that they could not campaign because they were barred by law enforcement officials and ruling party activists.

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