BNP mayoral candidate for Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) polls Ishraque Hossain on Monday feared that a move is on to make the field empty before the February-1 voting as a case was filed against his supporters in connection with Sunday’s Gopibagh clash.
He urged the Election Commission to take steps for creating an equal scope for all candidates so that they can carry out electioneering and join voting peacefully.
Ishraque made the remarks while exchanging views with Jatiya Press Club members ahead of elections to Dhaka south and north city corporations billed for February 1.
Prime Minister’s ex-information adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Press Club president Saiful Alam, vice president Omar Farroque, treasurer Shyamal Dutta, former general secretary Syed Abdal Ahmed, joint secretaries general, Shahed Chowdhury, Mainul Alam and former joint secretary Ilias Khan, its senior members, Abdus Shahid, M Abdullah, and Kader Gani Chowdhury were, among others, present.
Speaking at the programme, Ishraque said, “As per our apprehension, a case was filed with Wari Police Station on Sunday night against our 50 identified leaders and activist and many other unidentified ones over the Gopibagh incident. Five of them were arrested this (Monday) morning.”
He further said, “We urge the Election Commission to create an equal scope for us so that we can conduct election campaign and join the election peacefully, and to check the incidents of attack. We also call upon them to prevent the move to make the field empty through attacks and cases what were done during the last general election.”
The BNP candidate said he had been carrying out electioneering peacefully before Sunday’s ‘attack’ on his supporters by the ruling party activists. “Even, I went to many camps of Awami League-backed councillor candidates during the campaign and exchanged greetings with them and sought their blessings.”
Narrating Sunday’s incident, he said the supports of Awami League-supported 41-No Ward councillor runner attacked on his activists from their camp without any provocation, leaving 12 his supporters and 3 journalists injured.
Ishraque urged the EC to take steps so that a peaceful atmosphere prevails until the voting process ends.
He also said Dhaka has turned into a worst liveable, unsafe and polluted city. “I’m a child of this city and I know its major problems. “So, I’ll do whatever necessary to turn Dhaka into a liveable, healthy and safe city if I’m elected mayor. I’ll also devote myself to serving the city dwellers and ensuring their welfare.”
The BNP candidate expressed his gratitude to journalists for their cooperation to his electioneering, and urged them to play an active role during the voting so that people can freely exercise their voting rights.
BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain urged the EC to take measures so that people can reflect their opinion through voting and elect their mayors of their choice in a peaceful and congenial atmosphere.
He said though their party’s candidates are being subjected to attacks and harassments, the EC is not taking any step to prevent those and create a level-playing field. “We informed the Election Commission all the incidents, but still they didn’t act. It’s very unfortunate.”
He urged the EC to play a neutral role to hold a fair and credible election on February 1.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said city polls should be held in a peaceful, fair and cheerful manner so that voters can cast their votes without any fear and favour.
He hoped that the media will play a positive role in holding a free, fair and credible election.
Press Club President Saiful Alam said the February-1 elections are very important as around 55 lakh voters, mostly educated, will exercise their right to franchise.
He hoped that the voters will be able to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice as it is their democratic right.
Saiful also said the future mayors will work for making a green, liveable, safe and dynamic Dhaka from traffic jams as per people’s hopes and aspirations.
Later, Ishraque also exchanged views with the leaders of Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) and Photojournalists’ Association.