Though BNP is highly hopeful of winning the mayoral post in Gazipur city that goes to polls on Tuesday, they are skeptical whether there will be any ‘fair election’.
Talking to journalist, BNP senior leader and its mayoral candidate Hasan Uddin Sarker claimed the party will win the election if it is held in a fair and impartial manner minimally and the voters are allowed to go to the polling stations.
Apart from people’s anti-government sentiment, they said there are many swing voters who work for different industries in Gazipur and most of them will vote for Sarker as he is a renowned workers’ leader as well as a freedom fighter.
Narrating their experiences of Khulna polls, the BNP leaders, however, raised serious doubt whether the agents of their mayoral and councillor candidates will be allowed to stay in the polling centers and pro-opposition voters can go to polling stations to cast their votes.
Alleging that law enforcers are harassing and arresting their leaders and supporters and trying to influence the elections in favour of the ruling party, they said the role of the police is a big worry for them in the polls.
Contacted, Hasan Uddin Sarker said, “I’ll surely come out winner if voters can exercise their right to franchise. Though it’s a local body election, national politics will play a major role in determining the results.”
He said people will vote for him as they are annoyed with the government for ‘widespread corruption, plundering, repressive acts, and harassing’ and jailing current BNP mayor MA Mannan in false cases and jailing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. “I’m also a better competent and experienced candidate than my main opponent and Awami League mayoral runner Jahangir Alam.”
Besides, Sarker said Gazipur is an industrial city and a large number of workers are voters there. “I’m very popular among them since I’m a worker leader. I’ve been deeply involved in labour politics since my early life. I’ve big contributions to setting up industries in Gazipur. So, I think workers are my great strength.”
He, however, said he is deeply worried whether his agents can stay in voting centres and voters can freely cast their votes.
The BNP candidate alleged that Awami League is making various ‘evil plans to obstruct his polling agents, voters, resort to vote frauds to ensure its candidate’s victory in Khulna style since police are ‘playing a partisan role’.
Sarker accused the police of arresting, harassing and intimidating BNP leaders and activists and his possible polling agents to influence the results.
He, however, said he will be there in the field until the vote count is over, and try to resist the ruling party’s any evil attempt together with people. “I call upon voters to go to polling stations to cast their votes, braving all odds.”
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said as a democratic party they always hope to see a fair and credible election, and their party mayoral candidate will win with a margin of over onelakh votes if the election is held in an acceptable and neutral manner minimally.
He called upon the Election Commission to take necessary steps so that all the party candidates’ polling agents can go to the polling stations and voters can exercise their voting rights without any fear and obstacle.“It’s the EC’s duty to ensure safety of our polling agents and their stay inside the voting centres.”
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said their party thinks police will be the main obstacles towards holding a fair and acceptable election in Gazipur as partisan police officials have been given the responsibility to help conduct the polls.
“We believe voters will be there at the polling stations overcoming all barriers and our mayoral candidate will surely come out successful if the voters can cast their votes,” he added.
Rizvi said people are deeply worried whether the election will be fair and they will be able to vote for the candidates of their choice as police kept arresting BNP leaders and activists and intimidating voters.
He said their party’s around 150 leaders and activists have been arrested until Sunday night in Gazipur.
BNP Gazipur district president FazlulHaqueMilon said a tense situation has been prevailing in Gazipur city and the voters are in doubt whether they will be able to go to polling stations as the government together withpolice and those involved in voting process are plotting to hold a Khulna-style ‘flawed voting’.