With the by-polls of Chattogram-8 (Chandgaon-Boalkhali) constituency coming closer, candidates of both Awami League (AL) and BNP have been giving their best efforts to woo voters.
Both candidates have filed a number of allegations of violating electoral code of conduct against the activists and supporters of each other with the returning officer (RO).
Apart from AL and BNP, a total of four candidates from Bangladesh Nationalist Front, Islamic Front Bangladesh and National Awami Party and an independent candidate are contesting the polls scheduled to be held on January 13.
In the latest allegations filed with EC on January 4, BNP candidate Abu Sufian alleged that AL men attacked his activists and vandalised their vehicles in Boalkhali upazila on Saturday morning, adding that a total of 10 activists were injured in this attack.
Meanwhile, AL candidate Moslem Uddin Ahmed also filed allegation against the activists of Sufian on the same day, stating that BNP activists burnt his electoral symbol [boat] which was hanging over the bank of a pond in Boalkhali upazila early Saturday.
Contacted, Sufian, also convener of Chattogram south district unit of BNP, said he had lodged a total of five complaints with the RO against the AL candidate and his men over violating electoral code of conduct.
“They are frequently attacking and threatening our activists and supporters to cause panic before the polls,” Sufian said. “I have lodged formal complaints with the RO and he assured me of investigating those,” he said.
“The Election Commission assured us of providing a level playing field in the polls but there is no such atmosphere. It’s the duty of the EC to create a level playing field for all candidates,” he said.
Moslem, president of Chattogram south district unit of AL, denied all the allegations.
In a views-exchange meeting with journalists yesterday, Moslem said the BNP candidate was “spreading propaganda” over attack on his activists, which was “completely false”.
“He [Sufian] said 10 of his activists were admitted to hospital due to the attack but actually none of his supporters were admitted to the hospital,” said Moslem, adding, “The BNP candidate is trying to make the polls appear controversial, hence he is spreading such propaganda.”
In this press conference, Moslem also sought media’s support. “I’m a seasoned politician and the BNP candidate is inexperienced in politics…I have always maintained a good relation with the media but when it comes to coverage, the media does not put me in a good light. Rather, they highlight the false allegations of the BNP candidate against me,” said Moslem. “I expect good, fair coverage,” he said.
Asked, BNP candidate Sufian claimed that all the allegations were true. “I have medical certificates proving that my activists received treatment at the upazila health complex due to attacks by AL men,” he said.
Contacted, Mohammad Hasanuzzaman, Chattogram regional election officer and RO of Chattogram-8 by-polls, said they were investigating all complaints lodged by the candidates.
A total of 4,75,988 voters will cast their votes through electronic voting machine in the polls, said election commission officials.