The situation in Chattogram has started to heat up just a week before the Chattogram City Corporation CCC elections. In the last two days, there have been clashes between the opponents in multiple places in the city.
So far, the contesting candidates have filed a total of 53 different types of complaints in the Regional Election Commission office. But the administrations, including the police, have found only a few of these allegations to be true.
Besides these, there have two cases filed against leaders and workers of BNP in connections with the clashes. Meanwhile, BNP has demanded redress from the Returning Officer, blaming the Awami League leaders and workers for the clashes.
There is only one week left before the election. Voting will be held on January 27. But the situation appears heated with attacks, clashes, allegations, and counter-allegations.
Clashes broke out between the councilor candidates last week, leaving one dead and dozens injured. On Wednesday clashes also erupted at the BNP's office at Kazir Deuri under Kotwali police station and Balir Hat in Bakalia police station.
A total of 237 candidates are contesting in CCC election. The main rivalry for the post of the mayor is between Awami League nominated Boat symbol candidate M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury and BNP nominated Paddy Sheaf symbol candidate Dr. Shahadat Hossain. As the election draws near, the level of violence seems to be increasing.
Saleh Mohammad Tanvir, Commissioner of Chattogram Metropolitan Police CMP said, “As we are received information of any violence the police are reaching fast at the spot to control the situation.”
“If someone complains in writing, we take action according to the law,” he said adding, “We are trying to treat everyone equally and fairly.”
On Thursday, Awami League and BNP leaders have been seen appearing in the office of the Returning Officer and raising allegations against each other.
Advocate Ibrahim Hossain Chowdhury Babul, Chief Agent of AL candidate Rezaul Karim Chowdhury went to Election Commission EC Office with a complain of multiple violations of electoral rules against BNP candidate Dr. Shadat Hossain and his supporters.
"BNP supporters are constantly breaking the law and attacking supporters of the boat symbol. We have informed the EC in writing and demanded redress,” Babul told this reporter.
He also blamed the BNP for the recent clashes in Chattogram.
Meanwhile, BNP candidate Dr Shahadat Hossain has filed a total of eight complaints against rival candidate Rezaul Karim and his supporters at the election office. On Thursday, Shahdat Hossain himself appeared at the EC office and alleged that the police are biased.
He said, “Officer in Charge of Kotwali police station deliberately tortures and harassing BNP leaders and supporters. There are allegations of detention and harassment against him with false cases in the name of BNP leaders and activists at different times.”
"Threatening to withdraw from the polls if the officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station is not removed, he said, "The police officer had incited Awami league men to an attack on the BNP office."
With the election looming, the Chattogram Metropolitan Police CMP has recently changed the officer-in-charge of six police stations. Meanwhile, the current officer in charge of Kotwali police station Nezam Uddin has been transferred from Bakalia police station and given the current responsibility.
To maintain the electoral environment, 25 platoons of Border Guard of Bangladesh BGB, 41 teams of elite force Rapid Action Battalion RAB and multiple striking forces of RAB, police, and BGB will be deployed from 24 January. The voting will take place on January 27.
In addition, 20 Judicial magistrates will also be on duty. At present, there are 14 Executive Magistrates in the field with mobile courts. One magistrate will be appointed in each of the 41 wards of the city.
The coronavirus pandemic hit the country in March last year when voters in the country's main port city were engaged in a festive election battle, but the voting on March 29 has been postponed.
With the corona epidemic under control, the Election Commission announced a new schedule to resume campaigning from January 8, and the voting date is January 27.