The ruling Awami League and the main opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front on Wednesday formally kicked off their electioneering from Tungipara and Sylhet city respectively seeking vote in the December 30 general election.
The candidates nominated by AL and the front, however, began campaigns in their constituencies in Dhaka and elsewhere soon after the allocation of symbols to the candidates by the returning officers on December 10.
People witnessed both festivity and violence in the past three-day electioneering at places, including Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chattagram, Noakhali, Khulna, Sylhet, Barishal, Bogura, Thakurgaon, Rangpur, Narsingdi, Chuadanga and Satkhira.
Both AL and the front are likely to announce their election manifestos in the next week.
AL League president Sheikh Hasina, also the prime minister, formally launched her party’s electioneering addressing a public rally at Sheikh Lutfar Rahman Government Degree College ground at Kotalipara in Gopalganj on Wednesday.
Jatiya Oikya Front chief Dr Kamal Hossain, along with leaders of the parties in the front including BNP, launched the electioneering after offering fateha at shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shah Paran (R ) in Sylhet.
Hasina started her journey by road at about 8:20am from Ganabhaban and reached Tungipara at 2:10pm.
At first, she paid homage to her father and founding president of the country Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his grave placing a wreath as the prime minister.
She, along with AL central leaders, placed another wreath at the grave as the AL president.
On her way back to Dhaka on Thursday, Hasina would address rallies at Bhanga, Faridpur, Rajbari, Manikganj bus stop, Rabeya Medical College and Hospital premises at Dhamrai and Savar bus stop, party leaders said.
Inaugurating the formal electioneering, Kamal Hossain urged the people to guard the polling stations to resist any kind of forgery in the 11th parliamentary elections.
Asking voters to take position at the polling station immediately after offering Fazr prayers on the polling day, Kamal, also the Gono Forum president, said, ‘Proper atmosphere of voting must be ensured for a fair, impartial and participatory election.’
Kamal also said that the people would not have the ownership of the state without holding a fair election and the people would lose their freedom if they lost their ownership of the country.
‘The people have to unite in order to protect their ownership of the country like a house owner who tries to guard his house in association of all,’ Kamal said.
New Age Staff Correspondent in Sylhet reported that Kamal made the call while talking to journalists in the evening after offering fateha at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal.
Ruling out any apprehension of boycotting the polls, Kamal said that the front would stay in the ballot battle until the end. ‘The Jatiya Oikya Front will not leave before achieving the final victory,’ he said.
Kamal visited the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal before formal launching of the electioneering.
He alleged that they were receiving complaints of intentional arrests of front leaders and activists from different places across the country, though the Election Commission had promised to create a fair election environment.
Kamal said that the government would not be able to implement its ‘evil wish’ if any, if the people remained united.
‘That was why, we formed the front. Because, we have seen in the past that the people of the country had succeeded to realise their demands when they became united for it,’ he added.
Mentioning that they went to Sylhet to launch formal electioneering, Kamal said that they prayed during their visit to Hazrat Shahjalal’s shrine for the betterment of 18 crore people of Bangladesh and for 10 crore voters so that they could cast their votes freely without any trouble.
Kamal Hossain, Gonoshasthaya Kendra trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury, BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD president ASM Abdur Rob and Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddique landed at Sylhet airport at about 4:15pm and then visited the shrines.
They were supposed to participate in election campaign in Shah Paran area on the outskirt of the city in the evening and then to leave for Dhaka, local front leaders said.
AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said that their party was ahead of BNP in the electioneering.
BNP leaders and activists were responsible for the attacks on the AL campaigns, he said while inaugurating AL publicity cell for election campaign at political office of party president Sheikh Hasina at Dhanmandi.
He unveiled a compact disc of a music album, titled ‘cast your vote for boat’.
Chaired by co-chairman of the election steering committee HT Imam, publicity and publication secretary Hasan Mahmud also spoke at the function.
Eminent cultural activists and artists attended the programme.
The artists will also take part at the formal inauguration of election campaign of the Awami League at Central Shaheed Minar at 11:00am on Thursday, Hasan said.
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