Amid continued allegations of arrests of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders and activists, electioneering in Khulna city elections ended with the clock striking 12 midnight on Sunday.
Meanwhile, 16 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh have been deployed in the city ahead of the elections to be held on Tuesday.
At the last stage of the campaign, a BNP delegation led by its standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan met with chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda and four other commissioners at the Election Commission and requested the EC to stop arresting BNP leaders and activists.
Emerging from the meeting, Nazrul told journalists that they requested the EC to act like an independent organisation at the last stage as law enforcers in the city were arresting wholesale the opposition activists.
He claimed that the poling agents of BNP mayoral candidate Nazrul Islam Manju and BNP-backed councillor candidates were refusing to carry out their duties as police were threatening them and arresting their family members.
They said that at least 139 BNP leaders, who were directly involved in campaigning for its candidates, were arrested by law enforcers without showing warrants of arrest.
New Age correspondent in Khulna reported that candidates and their followers and supporters continued visiting door to door to seek votes for their candidates till late in the night with promises of development works in the city.
BNP mayoral candidate Manju at a press conference demanded deployment of army for ensuring a peaceful election on May 15.
He also asked the returning officer to appoint one executive magistrate each for every polling centre, saying that all the polling centres were risky.
Khulna Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch additional deputy commissioner Sonali Sen said that they were arresting wanted accused in regular cases as well as illegal drug dealers.
She claimed that the arrests were made without considering any political identity.
Khulna city’s returning officer Md Younus Ali said that he had already instructed the law enforcers not to do anything excessive, which could hamper the level playing field in the city.
Khulna deputy commissioner Aminul Ahsan said that 16 platoons of BGB were deployed in the city on Sunday afternoon, while 31 magistrates would perform their duties on Monday, reported United News of Bangladesh.
Additional members of the law enforcement agencies, including 32 patrol teams of Rapid Action Battalion, each consisting of eight people, and four striking teams, each consisting of 10 members, will be deployed in and around the city from midnight, said Khandaker Rafiqul Islam, commanding officer of RAB-6.
In the city, five mayoral candidates are in the contest besides 148 candidates for 31 general seats for ward councillors and 38 female candidates for 10 seats reserved for them.
BNP mayoral candidate Manju is fighting with ‘sheaf of paddy’ as his election symbol while ruling Awami League candidate Talukder Abdul Khalek is fighting with ‘boat’ symbol.
The three other mayoral candidates are: Jatiya Party-backed Shafiqur Rahman Mushfiq, Islami Andolan Bangladesh-backed Mozzammil Haque and Communist Party of Bangladesh backed M Mizanur Rahman Babu.
Khulna city has 4,96,454 registered voters.
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