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CCC polls: Violence worries cast a pall over festive atmosphere

  • Published at 03:16 pm January 16th, 2021
Election Mehehdi
File Photo: A polling officer marks a voter with ink during Dhaka city polls 2020 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

There is fear of further electoral violence as there are rebel candidates of Awami League in different wards of the city

Fear of violence has put a damper on the festive mood ahead of the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) polls slated for January 27.

Tension is also running high as the polls are drawing nearer.

There is fear of further electoral violence as there are rebel candidates of Awami League in different wards of the city.   

This time 12 outgoing ward councillors have failed to secure tickets from Awami League for running in the electoral race.

On January 12, four days after the electioneering campaign resumed, the supporters of Awami League-backed councillor candidate, Nazrul Islam, and rebel candidate, Abdul Kader, engaged in a gunfight that left one dead in the city.

Later, the police arrested 11 men including the councillor candidate Abdul Kader in connection with the killing of one man.

Afterwards, the court put the councillor candidate on a three-day remand.    

Previously on March 18 last year, the supporters of two councillor candidates - Morshed Akhter Chowdhury and Md Ismail - got into a clash leaving a man dead.

Meanwhile, BNP-nominated mayoral candidate Dr Shahadat Hossain demanded conducting drives against the illegal arms ahead of the polls.   

Also read: Voting in second phase municipality elections underway

“The administration has not taken any initiative to collect people’s legal arms [till the election] and conduct drives against illegal arms. As a result, we are witnessing clashes among the ruling party men,” said Shahadat, while conducting electioneering at Chawkbazar area on Friday.

“The illegal arms possessed by the ruling party men may be used to intimidate BNP activists and the voters. The voters are gripped by fear and incidences of violence may rise ahead of the polls. That is why licensed arms should be submitted and drives should be conducted against illegal arms,” said the mayoral candidate.    

Returning Officer Mohammad Hasanuzzaman said that they remained alert to avert any untoward incident centring the polls.

Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) Commissioner Saleh Md Tanvir said that they have beefed up vigilance so that the law and order situation does not deteriorate during the polls.

“We do not want any further electoral violence. We expect that voters will exercise their voting rights without any fear and return home safely,” said Advocate Akhtar Kabir Chowdhury, president of Chittagong city unit of Sacheton Nagorik Committee under Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).

This time seven mayoral candidates and 172 councillor candidates for 40 general wards and 57 councillors for the reserved seat for women have entered the fray.