Monday, May 20, 2024

Tight security at Paltan, surroundings

Nazrul Islam
Tens of thousands of people thronged the Paltan ground to listen to Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina who addressed her penultimate election rally on Friday amidst unprecedented security arrangements before the December 29 parliamentary polls.
Amidst slogans in favour of the party’s election symbol ‘boat’, the AL chief addressed the huge crowd from behind a bullet-proof shield on the dais while lawmen frisked everyone entering the venue.
This was for the first time that a bullet-proof shield was used for a politician addressing a public meeting in Bangladesh.
The security measures were taken amidst threats by militants to the lives of prominent political leaders, particularly the two former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, ahead of Monday’s polls.
The authorities will undertake similar measures for Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief, Khaleda Zia, who is scheduled to wrap up her electioneering today at the same ground.
As many as 4,000 security personnel from police, Rapid Action Battalion, Armed Police Battalion, Ansars, Special Security Force and the Dog Squad were deployed in and around the venue as streams of masses engulfed the surrounding Motijheel, Zero Point Purana Paltan and Gulistan areas during the rally.
Processions from different parts of the city poured into the meeting venue chanting ‘Joy Bangla’ and slogans in favour of the AL candidates.
They carried colourful banners, inscribed with the AL candidates’ portraits, and festoons with black and white posters, giant boats made of bamboo and wood and decorated with coloured papers.
Golam Kibria, a resident of Goran who attended the rally, said he believed that the AL, if voted to power, would fulfil the people’s expectations for a better future. ‘Our demands are not so high. We want to live in peace with our limited income’, said Kibria, who runs a small business in his locality.
Many party supporters were seen singing and dancing while brass bands played tunes.
As soon as the Awami League chief got on the dais at around 4:15 pm, the entire crowd burst into applauses.
The AL’s candidates for 15 Dhaka city constituencies addressed the audience one after another before Sheikh Hasina arrived. They termed the last three days very crucial for elections asking the party leaders and supporters to remain alert against conspiracies.
Hasina introduced 13 out of 15 alliance candidates in the city to the audience. The candidates are – Sanjida Khanam for Dhaka 4, Mizanur Rahman Khan Dipu for Dhaka 6, Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin for Dhaka 7, Rashed Khan Menon for Dhaka 8, Saber Hossain Chowdhury for Dhaka 9, AKM Rahmat Ullah for Dhaka 14, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal for Dhaka 11, Fazle Noor Tapash for Dhaka 12, Jahangir Kabir Nanak for Dhaka 13, Aslamul Alam for Dhaka 14, Kamal Ahmed Majumder for Dhaka 15, Iliyas Molla for Dhaka 16 and Sahara Khatun for Dhaka 18.
Two candidates of the AL-led ‘grand’ alliance – HM Ershad for Dhaka 17 and Abu Hossain Babla for Dhaka 5 who are running in the elections with Jatiya Party’s symbol plough – were not present.


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