'No incident of interrupting election campaigns took place. The BNP leaders and activists were just informed that they were not to organize any rally that violates the electoral code of conduct'
The election campaign of BNP mayoral candidate for Barisal City Corporation (BCC) election, Mujibar Rahman Sarwar, was foiled by the team of an executive magistrate of police on Saturday.
According to BNP, some 70-80 district and metropolitan leaders and activists led by Sarwar got out from its district party office in the evening to distribute leaflets and hold meetings when Executive Magistrate Zakir Hossain interrupted them along with a number of plainclothes policemen.
The magistrate then allegedly told the BNP leaders that they could only campaign with teams of eight members each.
The magistrate however told journalists that he did not interrupt the BNP leaders’ campaign.
“No incident of interrupting election campaigns took place. The BNP leaders and activists were just informed that they were not to organize any rally that violates the electoral code of conduct,” said Zakir.
Soon after the incident, the BNP leaders protested the instruction from the magistrate. Angrily, they cancelled the leaflet distribution program and street meeting, but staged a demonstration in front of their party office.
At the demonstration, BNP candidate Sarwar said: “The Awami League candidate has held a massive gathering today. The code of conduct of the election has been violated there, but the legitimate campaign of the BNP candidate has been interrupted by an executive magistrate here.”
He also said the magistrate’s instructions were disruptive and alarming for the campaign.
“This is an unprecedented incident in democracy,” he said, calling upon the residents of Barisal to stage a silent revolution by voting for him.
He further said: “BNP has not been allowed to hold any assembly. This is a one-sided election. The Chief Election Commissioner and the Prime Minister promised to hold a fair election, but the administration itself has become an obstacle to that. The administration has been disrupting BNP’s campaigns and helping the Awami League campaigns.”
Sarwar alleged that policemen were arresting and harassing BNP leaders and activists in order to ensure that the polling agents are not present on the day of the election.
He also called upon the mayoral candidates from all parties to be united and to contain the irregularities with mass people to restore democracy.
Barisal district (South) BNP President Ebaidul Haque, also the member-secretary of BNP’s election operation committee and metropolitan unit vice president Abul Hossain were present during the demonstration, among other leaders and activists.