POST TIME: 9 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
Election campaign gains momentum in N’ganj

Election campaign gains momentum in N’ganj

Residents of the port city of Narayanganj, 12km south of Dhaka, want to see their beloved city free from terror and drugs and other criminal activities. They want to see a person as their city father who can ensure security for their lives and properties. If you ask any city dweller whom he or she would vote for in the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) elections on December 22, he or she would say that one who can stand up against violence and crime that have gripped the city for a long time, would be their choice. It was not too long ago that the city witnessed the much-talked about seven murders, and 17-year-old Tanvir Muhammad Tawki went missing after leaving home and, two days later, his body was found on the bank of the Shitalakkhya river in the town’s Charargop area.
The Narayanganj residents have been witnessing criminal activities, and are now committed to standing up against such activities by exercising their franchise and electing a person who can protect them.
“We want to see a person as our city father who can provide us with security,” Lutfar Rahman, a businessman, told this correspondent yesterday.
Sohel Mahmud, a voter of the Nabiganj area, said: “This time, voters will give priority to the image of candidates, though the elections are going to be held on a partisan basis for the first time.”
“We will vote for the candidate who will protect us from violence and ensure necessary services,” said Jharna Reza, a voter of Ward No. 16 of the city.
The Awami League's mayoral candidate, Salina Hayat Ivy, and the BNP contestant, Advocate Sakhawat Hossain Khan, have both promised to free the city from crimes and criminal activities and ensure modern city services for the residents.    
The ruling party candidate is optimistic about her victory, while her opponent, Sakhawat Hossain Khan, said if the polls are held in a free, fair and credible manner, he would win.
Campaigning is gaining momentum, with the two main mayoral candidates canvassing for votes.
Ivy and Sakhawat, along with their supporters, have started door-to-door campaigning to woo voters. Councillor candidates were also conducting campaigns in their respective wards. Supporters were bringing out processions and chanting slogans in favour of candidates.
Election commissioner Brig. Gen. (retd) Md Zabed Ali met mayoral and councillor contestants yesterday, and urged them not to violate the electoral code of conduct while campaigning. During the meeting, Shakhawat accused Ivy of violating the electoral code.
The BNP contestant also demanded Army deployment for the polls, so that people can exercise their franchise without intimidation.
However, Ivy rejected the accusation. Regarding deployment of the Army, she said she would have no objection if the EC wanted it.
Zabed Ali said the NCC elections would be held in a free and fair manner. The EC will take whatever steps are required to make the polls free and fair. He also said no candidate had till now sought Army deployment in writing. Over 4.79 lakh voters are expected to cast their ballots to elect a city mayor, 27 ward councillors and nine women councillors (reserved seats). In the last mayoral elections in 2011, Ivy won against the then Awami League-backed Shamim Osman by around 1 lakh votes as an Independent. The BNP-backed candidate, Khandaker Taimur Alam, withdrew at the eleventh hour.