Tuesday, June 18, 2024

GCC poll rivals hurl accusations against each other

The two major mayoral candidates for Gazipur City Corporation, 18-Party Alliance-backed Prof. MA Mannan, and 14-Party Alliance-backed advocate Azmatullah Khan, have levelled allegations of wrongful conduct, against each other, ahead of the election. Prof. Mannan, on Tuesday, again raised demands for deploying the army during the election, at a press conference held at his election office at Chandona Chowrasta. A number of central leaders, including former minister Osman Faruk, ASM, were present at the press meet.
Hannan Shah, Fazlul Haque Milan, barrister Mahbubur Rahman, and Chowdhuri Kamal Ibne Yousuf. He claimed that the ruling Awami League-led Grand Alliance government is  trying to influence the Election Commission, to help Azmatullah win at any cost.
As part of government’s election engineering programme, the EC has appointed a large number of former AL and BCL leaders as presiding officers, in all the polling centres for GCC polls.
The AL, hands-in-glove with the EC, is plotting to hijack the people’s mandate, by staging an administrative revolution by partisan official, Mannan alleged.
ASM Hannan Shah, chief coordinator of Mannan’s electoral body, said that violating the electoral code of conduct, a minister has held a secret meeting with officers, at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute auditorium, on Tuesday morning, where, at least five parliament members and other central leaders of Awami League were present. At the meeting, the officers were asked to cast their votes for Azmatullah Khan. A journalist from Dhaka was assaulted, when he tried to take photos of the meeting.
Hannan Shah also claimed that some members of the intelligence service have been deployed in GCC area, who should have no role to play in a local government body election. They are staying in a rest house, and trying to influence the election. “We are demanding the army be deployed, following these incidents, to ensure a free and fair election,” he added.
Hannan Shah alleged that, for election campaigning, the AL has deployed hundreds of central AL leaders and around 70 lawmakers, violating the electoral code of conduct, and the ruling party men are misusing state machinery, to campaign for Azmat, which shows their desperation.
Moreover, the 18-Party camp alleged that health secretary MM Neaz, Bangladesh Islamic Foundation director-general Shamim Mohammad Afzal, Bangladesh Medical Association secretary-general Dr Iqbal Arsalan, Agricultural Research Institute’s senior scientific officer, Madan Kumar Saha, have been desperately taking part in election campaigning for AL-backed candidate Azmatullah, in a brazen violation of government service rules and electoral code of conduct. Now, residents of Gazipur have become quite sure about the government’s and the EC’s intentions to manipulate the poll results, and the administrative coup in the works, to hijack people’s mandate in Gazipur.
On the other hand , 14-Party Alliance candidate, Azmatullah Khan, expressed concerns over his rivals’ misuse of religion. He said: “People’s religious sentiments are being used in election campaigning.”
He accused his rival of circulating misleading posters and leaflets with false information, and “these are being used against me”.
The Election Commission should stop this, Azmatullah added.
Mohammed Nasim, a senior leader of Awami League, said in a press conference, also held at Chandona Chowrasta, that the Awami League does not believe in violence. “It believes in practising democracy, as our leader, Sheikh Hasina, bravely arranged the city corporation election at the fag end of her government’s current tenure.”
He also said that the people of Gazipur will give a befitting reply, by casting their votes for Azmatullah Khan. “Azmatullah, who is very polite and a gentleman, will win the election.”
Voters expect a tough fight between Mannan and Azmatullah. They also want a free and fair election, where they are able to choose the first mayor of newly formed Gazipur City Corporation.

-With The Independent input

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