Friday, June 21, 2024

Campaign ends tonight in crucial GCC poll

JP formally supports BNP, voters smell rat in NBR move
With all eyes focussed on Gazipur City Corporation Election due on July 6, the Jatiya party has publicly announced its support for the 18-party supported candidate Professor Abdul Mannan. The announcement made at a press conference on Wednesday was attended by BNP standing committee member Tariqul Islam and Brigadier(Rtd) Hannan Shah. The formal JP announcement came at the fag end of the campaign which is due to come to a close on the midnight of July 4. On the other hand, the income tax notice served on Prof. Mannan ignited raging controversy fuelling renewed animosity between the two rival candidates who traded accusations again on Wednesday.
The AL –supported candidate Azmatullah called his rival a corrupt person while Professor Mannan said he did not have any black money. He said he had filed an appeal against the tax imposed on his wealth.
Despite being a local body election, the mayoral poll in the Gazipur City Corporation (GCC), has become the centre-stage of the national politics with both the ruling party and the main opposition BNP leaving no stone unturned to win the electoral race.
Along with the candidates, the stalwarts of the major parties are spending sleepless nights to woo 10.26 lakh voters of the GCC that has an area of  29 square kilometre.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, president of the ruling Awami League and opposition leader BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia are reportedly monitoring the electioneering personally as after the landslide victory of the opposition BNP in the four city corporation elections recently winning the GCC poll has become a prestige issue for both of them. According to analysts, BNP is in a better position after its victory in the four city corporation elections, as it would gain whether it wins or loses this battle.
If BNP wins in this poll they can say people  have turned its back on the ruling party and if they loses  they will justify their demand for the caretaker government saying that the government has snatched their victory through rigging the poll.
On the other hand, the ruling party is in a do-or-die situation because if it fails to win the GCC poll, it would be interpreted as people’s no to the ruling party.
But veteran Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed felt that the people of the GCC would give their verdict in favour of his party due to the massive development work conducted by the AL-backed candidate Ajmatullah.
“Azmatullah is an honest and competent candidate. Besides Gazipur has always been a strong bastion of the Awami League” he said.
AL has engaged 57 lawmakers in each of the 57 wards of the GCC to supervise the election campaign in ward level.
On the other hand, BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed told The Independent that a mass-wave has been created in favour of BNP across the country and like the four city corporation elections people would say no to this government through ballot in the GCC poll.
Condemning the NBR move to freeze the bank account of BNP backed candidate on Tuesday, Moudud said that NBR has taken this move just three days before the election as per the directives of the government to tarnish the image of the BNP candidate. “But this will yield no benefit for the ruling party as people have already realised their ill-motive behind this move,” he claimed.
Though NBR chairman told the journalist on Wednesday that the NBR move followed the due process of the rules and it had nothing to do with the GCC election. Locals in Gazipur are also sceptic about the NBR directives just three days before the election and many of them felt that this could create sympathy for the BNP-backed candidate.
Meanwhile, electioneering in the GCC are going on in full swing with the presence of dozens of central leaders from both the parties.
Traditionally the AL candidates have a better election performance in Gazipur. AL candidate Azmat remains as Gazipur municipality chairman for the last 18 years. District AL president  AKM Mozammel Huq has not lost in any election in Gazipur in the last 22 years.
On the other hand, Mannan won here in 1991 parliament election and later became the state minister for religious affairs.
But many felt that since the national issues like Hefajat-e-Islam, corruption in the Padma Bridge, Hallmark and law and order have emerged as the main issues bypassing the local issues. The past performance of the AL may not work this time.
Besides the 3 to 3.5 lakh RMG workers who are one third of the total 10.26 lakh voters and would also play a pivotal role in determining the election result.
After the incidents like Rana Plaza and Tajreen Fashions and the recent handling of RMG workers protest by police in this area, AL cannot expect desired mandate from this group of the voters, locals believe.
At its press conference on Wednesday morning, Jatiya Party district president Nurul Islam said their mayoral candidate Brigadier (Rtd) Mahmud Hasan withdrew his mayoral candidacy on June 17 and from that  day their activists have been working for Professor M.A.Mannan.
On the other hand,  central Nayeb-e-Ameer of Hefazat-e-Islam  Shah Ahmed Ullah Ashraf also extended his party’s full support to M.A. Mannan at this press conference Meanwhile, our correspondent from Gazipur reports that a rumour spread among the voters  that the election was going to be posponded  following the news of a writ petition  that was filed in High Court by  an advocate  on Tuesday morning.  When contacted ASM Hannan Shah, the chief co-ordinator of Professor M.A.Mannan’s election campaign cell said, the opponents are involved in conspiracy  as they were sensing the victory of Mannan.

-With The Independent input

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