Khulnas cloud hovers over Rajshahi

first_imgRuling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) mayoral candidate Khairuzzaman Liton exchanges greetings with voters during a programme in Rajshahi recently. Photo: Prothom AloRuling Awami League is taking up the same strategy of Khulna by arresting BNP leaders and activists over various charges and intimidating them ahead of Rajshahi city polls, alleged BNP leaders.Leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party said, three different cases have been filed after the schedule of Rajshahi city polls was declared. And 178 BNP men were accused in those cases while 29 were arrested to date, according to party insiders. BNP mayoral candidate in Rajshahi Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul alleged that the ruling AL was trying to drive out BNP’s polling agents or make them leave the area before the election, like in Khulna and Gazipur.Mosaddek Hossain told Prothom Alo that he decided to provide the local media, the election commission and law enforcers with the names and identity of all his polling agents.“And environment for a fair election has not been created yet. It seems ruling AL is trying to replicate the Khulna-style election in Rajshahi,” the BNP mayoral aspirant said.However, AL rejects such apprehensions of BNP.AL candidate Khairuzzaman Liton said he had no knowledge about what happened during the Gazipur and Khulna mayoral election“We have not seen anything wrong in Khulna or Gazipur. However, there is no need to do anything in Rajshahi. I do not think that anything wrong will happen here,” Liton added.“BNP is probably facing a polling agent crisis due to its internal conflicts. Nobody perhaps agrees to be agents for BNP,” he further said. Prothom Alo came to know that the police have filed three new cases against BNP leaders and activists, charging them with carrying out explosions and cocktail blasts and planning sabotages.BNP leaders, however, said there were no cocktail attacks since the announcement of the schedule in the area. They claimed the cases to be false.“Important leaders and activists engaged in electioneering have been accused. Charges have also been filed against unidentified persons, so that anyone can be arrested and sent to jail in these cases,” said BNP leaders.The latest case was filed on Thursday in Rajpara police station. TM Selim Reza, the sub inspector, is the plaintiff of the case.It is said in the case statement that 15 to 20 BNP leaders and activists secretly held a meeting at Terakhaida cricket grounds allegedly planning a sabotage.Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) mayoral candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul conducts his electioneering at Bishwabidyalay Road of Rajshahi on Friday. Photo: Prothom AloThere are 16 accused enlisted in the statement. Three of them were arrested by the police. They are Nurul Islam, 35, Sajjadul Haque, 65, and Dildar Ali Jony, 32.Officer in charge of Rajpara police station has claimed that the arrested persons were Jamaat activists. They were caught during a secret meeting while others managed to escape, said the OC.BNP leaders, on the other hand, claimed, most of the accused are BNP leaders and activists.Although he left BNP five years back, Shafiqul Islam, former organising secretary of Rajpara BNP, was accused in the case, according to Prothom Alo investigations.Police earlier filed another two cases on 8 and 9 July Kashiadanga police station.The case statement says, around 150 miscreants gathered in Uttar Math area of Kashiadanga at around 3:30 pm on 7 July.Police in the drive arrested organising secretary of BNP Ward-1, Nurul Islam and former president of Ward-2 Swechchhasebak Dal, Aminul Islam. BNP chairperson’s adviser and former mayor of Rajshahi Mizanur Rahman Minu alleged that police arrested 29 leaders and activists till now and have raided the houses of hundreds of leaders and activists. Denying such allegations, the senior assistant commissioner of metropolitan police said, police have arrested some accused in the anti-drug and anti-sabotage drive.Apart from police operations, alleged many BNP leaders, posters were being torn down and threats were being issued in Rajshahi, alleged many BNP leaders.Besides, BNP and other party candidates also alleged that supporters of the ruling candidate spared no place for them to paste up their posters and festoons.Local government expert Tofail Ahmed told Prothom Alo, cases being filed against BNP leaders and activists before the election, amounted to the administrations interference in the election process. The election commission should look into the matter. This can be perceived as a challenge to the election commission’s authority. The ball is in the election commission’s court. It is to be seen what action it takes.*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakatlast_img