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City abuzz with electioneering, lofty promises

The mayoral candidates of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) conducted their hectic electioneering on Saturday drawing supporters from their respective Awami League and BNP camps, UNB reports. The candidates along with their supporters went to their voters and begged their blessings for the elections, with making lofty pledges of turning the sprawling two Dhaka city corporations, reeling under myriads of problems, livable ones again.


Businessman Annisul Huq, an Awami League-backed mayoral candidate for the DNCC election, announced his election manifesto in the morning promising to turn Dhaka into a ‘livable, humanely, green and clean city’. Annisul, also a former FBCCI president, observed that proper planning as well as right leadership is needed to rebuild Dhaka. Promising that Nagar Bhaban will not turn into a party office, the ruling party-backed candidate said it will rather be run with the participation of all. “I want to be a friend of city dwellers, not father. Common people will be able to inform me about the problems of their respective areas through mobile apps. I’ll try to solve those if I’m elected a mayor in the polls.”


During his electioneering in the morning, Sayeed Khokon, also an AL-backed mayoral candidate for the DSCC, held a street rally at Gendaria of the old part of the city and exchanged views with the voters of ward No 45. Khokon rejected the allegation of availing of additional advantages as a ruling party-backed candidate saying, “Those raising such allegations they must investigate those properly.” In the afternoon, Sayeed Khokon exchanged views with Awami League-backed councillor contenders for the DSCC at the Institution of Engineers, and urged them to knock the door of every voter for seeking vote for his symbol ‘Hilsha’ alongside their respective ones.


Sayeed Khokon is scheduled to announce his election manifesto on Sunday, his personal assistant Sumon told UNB. During her campaign, BNP-backed mayoral candidate for the DSCC Mirza Abbas’ wife Afroza Abbas demanded that her husband be granted bails in all the criminal cases filed against him, who still in hiding to avoid arrest.   She also demanded the release of arrested opposition leaders and activists for the sake of fair polls.


“The government has said it wants to hold a competitive election. If it’s really sincere to hold fair polls it must give our candidate Mirza Abbas and other councillor candidates and their supporters the equal opportunity,” she said. Though Abbas is not in the field, Afroza said he has contact with his leaders and activists. “Abbas’ presence is not a big deal since he’s very familiar with people. But all the voters want to see the candidate. So, we hope Abbas will get bails in the false cases filed against him.”


Afroza, flanked by BNP leaders and activists, also carried out the electioneering in the city’s Topkhana, Paribagh, Dhalpur, Mugdha and Maniknagar areas amid various slogans of Abbas supporters in favour of his election symbol ‘Mug’. Afroza is scheduled to begin her campaign on Sunday from Malibagh crossing around 10m and will visit Siddheswari and Bailey Road areas later. Meanwhile, BNP-backed another candidate for the DNCC Tabith Awal started his second-day campaign at Karail Basti (slum) in the city’s Mohakhali area around 10am.


Tabith said he will very soon unveil his election manifesto focusing on building a green and clean city.  He conducted over two-hour hectic campaign at the slum and sought both votes and blessings of the slum dwellers. Later, Tabith also carried out electioneering in the city’s Banani, Gulshan and Mirpur areas. He is scheduled to resume his campaign at 8am on Sunday from Khilkhet area. Gansanghati Andolan candidate for DNCC Zonayed Saki announced his 18-point election manifesto at the Jatiya Press Club.


Meanwhile, BNP on Saturday accused the government of not allowing the party-blessed mayoral and councillor candidates to smoothly carry out their electioneering.  At a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan central office, BNP international affairs secretary Asaduzzaman Ripon, who is also a mayoral contender in DSCC polls said, “We want an equal chance to smoothly carry out the electioneering. We want a level-playing field so that all the candidates get the equal opportunity.”


Besides, a delegation of pro-BNP lawyers at a meeting with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner demanded the law enforcers play a neutral role during the elections to two Dhaka city corporations. On the other hand, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad at a views-exchange meeting with the candidates of Chittagong City Corporation elections said the commission has taken all necessary preparations to arrange the three city corporations’ polls in a free and fair manner.


He said the CEC said the decision over the deployment of army will be taken after a meeting with law enforcement agencies on April 19. The EC will also exchange views with DNCC mayoral and councillor candidates at Krishibid Institution in the capital’s Framgate area at 11am on Sunday. A total of 20 mayoral candidates are going to contest the DSCC polls while 16 the DNCC election to be held on April 28.

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