A tough contest is expected between 'Boat' and 'Elephant' symbols in the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) polls slated for Sunday as a festive atmosphere prevails in the entire election area.
Voters said either Awami League candidate Dr Selina Hayat Ivy with 'Boat' symbol or independent runner Advocate Taimur Alam Khandaker, a BNP leader who was removed from several party posts for his decision to vie for the election, with 'Elephant' may win the mayoral race though some other contestants are trying their best to do well in the polls.
The voters also fear that violence may take place in wards 1, 6, 14, 18 and 22 on the polling day as more than one AL leader is there in the race of councillors.
Wards 11 and 20 where several candidates loyal to BNP are vying for the councillor post may also see violence, they said.
Mohammad Nurul Islam, a resident of Farazikanda under ward No. 20 and newspaper hawker, said Ivy unleashed huge development activities while in office, which may bring victory for her for the third time. Besides, female voters like her more, he said.
He said an untoward situation may take place between the rival councillor candidates in their ward.
Five candidates -- incumbent councillor Golam Nabi Murad, Shahen Shah, Jahangir, Shahid Mridha and Mohammad Masum-- are now in the race for the councillor post, but the final race is expected between Murad and Shahen Shah, both BNP leaders.
Mohammad Hasan, a resident of Khanpur of ward 13, said Ivy developed roads, lanes and other sectors, which may lead her to victory.
Elderly Azam Khan of ward 13 said the voters want to cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere.
Mohammad Shahadat, a resident of Kumudini Bagan area, said there are 17,000 Bihari voters in Chashara and Siddhirganj. Six months ago, a piece of land was taken by Kumudini Welfare Trust by evicting houses of about 600 Bihari families in the area, he said, adding that no help from the city corporation was extended to them.
They lived there for about 100 years, Shahadat said. “The eviction may have a negative impact on the incumbent mayor,” he said.
Mohammad Sultan of the same area echoed Shahadat.
Mohammad Shafi, immediate past councillor from ward 14 who is in the race said he fears violence at Adrsha Boys and Girls Primary School polling centre.
He said he has already informed the law enforcers of the matter and they assured him of peaceful voting there.
Khan Masud, a councillor candidate from ward 22, alleged that his rivals are intimidating his supporters and he informed the authorities concerned of the matter.
ATM Kamal, chief coordinator of the election conducting committee of Taimur, alleged that police were harassing their supporters in different ways. “We’re doubtful about a fair election,” he said.
Advocate Dipu, joint convener of the election conducting committee of Ivy, alleged that Taimur Alam was spreading propaganda against their candidate using worship places, including mosques. “We’ve already informed the returning officer of the matter,” he said.
Contacted, Mohammad Jayedul Alam, superintendent of police of Narayanganj, told this correspondent that the candidates are carrying out electioneering in a festive mood and there is no apprehension of any untoward situation on the voting day.
About various allegations of candidates, he said there is no allegation from the candidates except Taimur Alam. “I think the allegations he is making on cameras are not true. Police are not harassing anybody,” he said.
Mustain Billah, deputy commissioner (DC) of Narayanganj district, told the Daily Sun that the voters will exercise their franchises in a festive mode as they did in the two previous NCC elections. “Voters can go to polling centres and cast their votes without any fear,” he said.