Voters say campaigns make no sense to them

Electioneering causes severe traffic congestion

Manzur H Maswood, Moloy Saha and Tapos Kanti Das | Published: 00:00, Jan 19,2020


Clockwise from top left, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s Dhaka south city mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain at Sadarghat, Dhaka south city’s Awami League candidate Sheikh Fazle Noor at Jatrabari, Dhaka north city’s BNP candidate Tabith Awal in Khilgaon, and Dhaka north city’s Awami League mayoral candidate Atiqul Islam at Mirpur conduct electioneering on Saturday. — New Age photo

With the mayoral candidates for Dhaka north and south city polls conducting electioneering in full swing, the city dwellers say they find little interest in the promises the candidates make.

About a dozen candidates are vying for the mayoral post in Dhaka north and Dhaka south, but the main contestants are four– two each from ruling Awami League and opposition Bangladesh Nationalists Party in the two cities.

Awami League’s Atiqul Islam is contesting for Dhaka north and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh is for Dhaka south while BNP’s Tabith Awal is contesting for Dhaka north and Ishraque Hossain for Dhaka south.

They were on canvass throughout the day at places across the capital on Saturday.

Atiqul, with a motorcade, band-party and public address system, was busy in Kachukhet, Kafrul, Senpara Parbata, and Shewrapara area on Saturday to woo voters.

While speaking at a rally at Kachukhet, he promised to make a smart city if voted to the chair of mayor – with making the city free from traffic jam and air pollution.

He said he would launch a mobile app – Sabar Dhaka, or Dhaka for All in English, a platform where citizens could ask for their required services.

Restaurant owner Hossain, who was listening to Atiqu’s speech, in a monologue said, ‘All are hoax… Now he has come up with loads of promises, but nothing will happen in the end.’

Asked about the reasons for his such conclusion, he said, ‘We are well acquainted with the characters of the politicians.’

Altaf Miah, a house owner in Senpara, was taking tea at a tea-stall near Adarsha School.

Atiqul was scheduled to pass the area after juhr prayers but his supporters were playing his election campaign songs and shouting slogans for him in in high pitch since 12:30pm.

Altaf Miah said all those promises were just exaggeration and meaningless.

‘When everyone knows who will win, what makes sense to carry out such peculiarities in the name of campaign?’ he asked.

Awami League’s Fazle Noor Taposh from Dhaka south conducted his election campaign, creating huge traffic congestion in Jatrabari area for about four hours.

He was scheduled to reach Jatrabari at 11:00am. But he reached there about one hour later.

His supporters occupied the busy main road pushing traffic movement on the crucial juncture to a complete halt.

The Shaheed Faruque Road was remained blocked from 11:00am to 3:00pm, bringing sufferings to the commuters. All activities along the road stretching from Jatrabari to Dayaganj remained paused for four hours.

Taposh visited areas under wards 48, 59, 51, 60, 61, 62 and 63 and promised that he would make the south city a modern one.

‘Who cares about our sufferings,’ said a furniture shop owner at Jatrabari.

‘He is promising to make modern city creating unbearable traffic jam,’ he said.

A group of university students were chatting near the election campaign of Communist Party of Bangladesh mayoral candidate for Dhaka north city Ahammad Sajedul Haque Rubel at Town Hall in Mohammadpur at about 3:30pm on Saturday.

‘We know well what Awami League can do,’ said Alamin Ahmed, who was among the group.

‘It is very much in our memory of the stuffing of ballot boxes on the night before the voting day of last general election on December 30, 2018,’ he said.

‘When we know what would be the election results then it makes no sense to consider who makes better promises.’ said Alamin’s friend Shafiq.

When CPB candidate Sajedul was speaking before a gathering seeking vote for him, two supporters wearing the badges of Atiqul reached there with a rickshaw carrying two loudspeakers and started playing ear-piercing election songs of Atiqul in the loudspeaker.

Sajedul had to leave the area as his request to stop the public address system went unheeded.

BNP’s Dhaka north city mayoral candidate Tabith Awal said he was getting overwhelming response from voters for the election, but his concerns for fair election is increasing as the voting day is nearing.

‘Fear among voters is growing as the situation is getting worse day by day,’ he said while speaking at a gathering in front of Taltala Market in Khilgaon.

‘We want the Election Commission to protect the voters’ right to vote,’ Tabith said.

BNP’s mayoral candidate for Dhaka south Ishraque Hossain, while beginning his election campaign at Banglabazar Chaurasta around noon, urged the voters to go to polling stations in the morning of January 30 to give a reply to the government.

‘I expect you to go to polling stations and blow away all the obstructions to your voting rights,’ said Ishraque, the elder son of former mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.

 He said that if elected he would take short, mid and long-term projects to solve city dwellers’ problems.

Alleging that Dhaka’s condition deteriorated in past 13 years for negligence and corruption of the government, Ishraque said that he would struggle to restore democracy and turn Dhaka into a clean and developed city.

As hundreds of BNP activists followed Ishraque in campaign, traffic congestion occurred in narrow roads in Old Dhaka.

As Ishraque advanced through different roads including Ahsanullah Road, Islampur Road, Nababpur Road, Nayabazar, Babubazar, Armanitola, Agamasih Lane, Aga Sadeque Road, Nazim Uddin Road, Nimtoli and Jai Kali Temple areas, women and children from different floors of high-rises threw flower petals on the marchers.

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