Planning Minister MA Mannan on Monday said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s survival is essential in the interests of the country’s impoverished segment.
“The prime minister is genuinely affectionate to poor people. She is very motivated to work for them. For that we must keep her in power,” Mannan said, while addressing a discussion meeting titled ‘Shotoborshe Bangabandhu’ (Bangabandhu at 100) organised by Bangladesh Dustho Nari-Shishu Kallyan Trust at the National Press Club.
The planning minister said the country has developed a lot. “Once poor people put on ‘Katha” during winter. Now they are wearing winter quilt,” he also said.
The organisation’s chairman Akhi Akter, several Awami League and Jubo league leaders were also present at the event.
Dismissing BNP’s allegation, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Monday said a level-playing field is there in the elections to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation slated for February 1.
“A level-playing field prevails,” he said replying to a query from reporters over BNP allegation that there is no level-playing field in the elections.
The CEC’s remarks came after the delegations of two political rival camps -- Awami League and BNP -- met him separately at his Nirbachan Bhaban office.
The AL team, led by co-chairman of the party’s national election conducting committee HT Imam and the BNP delegation, led by its standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, met the CEC to lodge their respective complaints.
About the complaints placed by the two teams, the CEC said BNP complained that police are harassing their candidates. “But we (EC) saw no sign of such harassment. They (BNP delegation) said that police didn’t record their case over the Gopibagh incident. But I later talked to the officer-in-charge concerned who told me that no BNP activist turned up for filing any case,” he said.
When the BNP team told him that AL filed a case in this regard, the CEC said any aggrieved person can lodge a case if any criminal offence takes place. “It’s a legal matter.”
Talking about the complaints lodged by the AL delegation, he said it blamed BNP for Sunday’s incident.
The AL team said terrorist groups may enter Dhaka from different places outside the city and hamper the election process, Nurul Huda said, adding that it urged the EC to take measures in this regard.
Replying to a query, he said there is no apprehension of any deterioration in the law and order on the voting day.
Talking to reporters after the meeting with the CEC, HT Imam said BNP and Jamaat-Shibir cadres from outside Dhaka, being equipped with arms and weapons, took position at different points of the capital. “They might create a situation to foil the elections,” he claimed.
About the AL-BNP clash in Gopibagh, he said the allegation BNP brought about the incident is completely a ‘planned and designed’ one.
AL team member Jahangir Kabir Nanak demanded that arson terrorists of BNP and Jamaat-Shibir should be brought to book immediately.
Earlier, Amir Khosru told reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban that though BNP candidates and supporters follow the electoral code of conduct, AL activists are not complying with it.
He also alleged that there is no level-playing field in the city elections.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said chanting provocative slogans during electioneering is also a violation of the electoral code of conduct.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at the secretariat in the morning.
Referring to Sunday’s clash between supporters of BNP’s Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain and Awami League during electioneering in the city’s Gopibagh area, Hasan Mahmud said the Election Commission (EC) will take necessary steps after investigating the incident.
About the claim of Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar that there is no level-playing field within the EC, he said the post of an election commissioner is a constitutional one like justice of the High Court. “They shouldn’t disclose internal issues to public and media.”
Holding a constitutional post, Mahbub Talukdar can discuss about the work environment at their own forum, not in public and media, the minister said.
Sunday’s clash that lasted for around 30 minutes left around 15 people, including a photojournalist of Somoy Television, injured.