With the Dhaka city elections approaching nearer, political arena of the capital has started to heat up as the ruling Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) continued mudslinging to woo voters.
The candidates of the two major political parties are mustering their strength amid their campaign for votes in the partisan elections.Many feared that the electoral atmosphere may get troubled as rebel candidates from both the parties for councillor posts have been desperate to win the elections slated for February 1.
If the rebels try to influence the elections with money and muscle power, the electoral atmosphere may become problematic, sources said.
On Sunday, Awami League and BNP activists were locked in a clash in Gopibag area when BNP mayoral candidate for the DSCC election Ishraque Hossain reached there to conduct a poll campaign.
Police suspect that illegal firearms are being brought to Dhaka from border areas to influence the elections and carry out violence.
Meanwhile, law enforcers arrested a person with a pistol and a shooter gun on Sunday.
On Wednesday, BNP mayoral candidate for the DNCC election Tabith Awal came under attack during campaign, but no visible action was taken by the Election Commission.Meanwhile, the EC vowed to take proper action against attackers on Ishraque's poll campaign.
AL and BNP mayoral contenders are continuing relentless efforts to woo voters by going door to door, holding rallies, indoor meetings and canvassing by vans, rickshaws and convoys in favour of their symbols ‘Boat’ and ‘Sheaf of Paddy.’
Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh of Awami League and Ishraque Hossain of BNP are contesting the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayoral election while Awami League’s Atiqul Islam is fighting against BNP’s Tabith Awal for the mayoral post of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).
As part of his electioneering, Atiq announced a 38-point election manifesto to build 'Modern Dhaka, Healthy Dhaka and Movable Dhaka' by addressing air pollution, water-logging and traffic jam and launching electric bus services.
"We will implement Integrated Vector Management (IVM) system to effectively deal with the mosquito menace," he said this while unveiling the manifesto at the Lakeshore Hotel in the capital on Sunday.
The AL mayoral candidate also prioritised revival of all lakes and canals, mitigation of water-logging and expansion of public space.
He said air pollution will be reduced through mist blowers and other sophisticated technologies in different places in north Dhaka.
Besides, multi-storey and underground parking complexes will be built in busy areas of the city, he said.
Waste will be disposed by setting up a Resources Recovery Facility (RRF) in Aminbazar, while the collected waste will be turned into energy, the mayor aspirant added.
Tabith has demanded immediate action against the attackers on Ishraque’s poll campaign.
"Ishraque came under attack while carrying out campaign. Earlier, he (Ishraque) was attacked in front of his house. Even attack was carried out on my poll campaign, but no action was taken," he said.
The EC should bring the attackers to book to create an election atmosphere.
Tabith came up with the demand while addressing a roadside rally in Agargaon.
"Only a few days left for the elections, so all have to remain alert. All have to go to polling centres in the morning to cast votes, defying all kind of threats," he said.
He also called upon voters to be ready for guarding polling cnetres.
During his election campaign, Taposh said he will work to prevent drug abuses.
"We will prevent drug abuse by expediting social movement against the menace," he said while addressing a street rally at Mayakanan in Sabujbag area on Sunday noon.
Mentioning that a mass wave has been created in favour of 'Boat', Taposh hoped that the people will cast their votes for building a developed and modern Dhaka.
Talking about the use of EVM, Taposh he does not find any fear among voters over its use rather they have accepted it warmly.
Before suffering an attack, BNP mayoral candidate Ishraque has started his poll campaign from Motijheel Shapla intersection.
"I won’t step back due to any threats rather I will speak for truth and justice," he said.
Mentioning that a mass wave has been created across the country, Ishraque urged all to cast votes so that their movement for saving democracy and restoring voting rights becomes a success.
The last DNCC election was held in 2015. Sayeed Khokon was elected mayor of DSCC and Annisul Huq became mayor of DNCC.
Later, Atiq became DNCC mayor as the mayoral post fell vacant following the death of Annisul Huq.