An appeal has been made to the authorities concerned for tracing the missing independent candidate of Brahmanbaria-2 by-polls Abu Asif Ahmed and ensuring a level playing field for a free and fair election.
Asif Ahmed’s wife Meherun Nisa Meherin submitted the written letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Brahmanbaria and the returning officer of the by-election on Tuesday noon.The election will be held on Wednesday (Feb 1).
Copies of this letter have been given to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Brahmanbaria Superintendent of Police, Ashuganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Officer-in-charge of Ashuganj police station and the local press club.
She said that the letter has also been emailed to the departments concerned.
Read more: B’baria-2 by-polls: 3 independent candidates withdraw, clearing the way for ex-BNP leader Abdus Sattar
Brahmanbaria Deputy Commissioner and by-election returning officer Md Shahgir Alam also acknowledged receiving the letter.
Asif went missing on January 27. He is the former president of Ashuganj Upazila unit BNP and the former chairman of Upazila Parishad. In the Brahmanbaria-2 by-poll, he is the main opponent of the expelled leader of BNP and five-time Member of Parliament, Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan.
Meherin said in the letter that there is no level playing field even for campaigning for the election. They are also facing threats in appointing polling agents for the voting.
“Propaganda is being spread that a specific candidate will win the election anyway. We do not think that there will be a fair election in this situation. We believe that despite all this, if there is a fair and impartial vote, my husband Abu Asif Ahmed will win with a huge margin.”
“When news in this regard was published in the media, we came to know that the Election Commission ordered an investigation to find my husband,” she added.
She also mentioned in the letter that polling centres in Kuttapara East, Kuttapara West, Syedtula Garer Par, Habistula, Sarail Annada Government High School and Uchalia Government Primary School of Sarail Upazila are very risky.
Meanwhile, Shafayat Suman, the brother-in-law of Abu Asif, the chief coordinator of the election campaign, who has been missing since January 25, returned home on January 30.
On January 25, Asif's election campaign chief Musa Mia, 80, was picked up by the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. Later, the police arrested him in a case of a settled village feud and sent him to jail.
Read more: Now Ashuganj BNP declares Abdus Sattar persona non grata
On January 14, three independent candidates in the by-polls to Brahmanbaria-2 withdrew their candidacy. They are joint secretary of Brahmanbaria district AL and general secretary of district Sports Association Mahbubul Bari Chowdhury Montu, former joint secretary of Brahmanbaria district AL Md Moin Uddin Moin, and former leader of Chhatra League Shahjahan Alam Saju.
Later, three other candidates--Jatiya Party's Abdul Hamid Bhasani, Zaker Party's Jahirul Islam Jewel, independently running JP rebel Ziaul Haque Mridha—also withdrew their candidacy.
On January 1, BNP expelled Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan from all posts for "violating party decisions and engaging in anti-party activities".
Sattar resigned from all his posts within the party, including the Chairperson's Advisory Council, on December 31 last year.
By-polls to five parliamentary seats will be held on February 1.
More Elections on Wednesday
The EC will also conduct by-polls to Thakurgaon-3, Bogura-4, Bogura-6, Chapainawabganj-2 on Wednesday.
On December 11 last year, five out of seven BNP Members of Parliament (MPs) submitted their resignation to Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, as part of their anti-government movement with a 10-point demand that included dissolution of Parliament.
Md. Harunur Rashid of Chapainawabganj-3 and the MP of Brahmanbaria-2 Abdus Sattar Bhuiyan could not submit resignation to the Speaker in person.
The MPs sent their resignation through an email on December 10.