Bangladesh Election: Campaign goes haywire

Bangladesh Election: Campaign goes haywire

The worst of election scandals could not be averted after all this year either, as Chittagong police yesterday recovered a large sum of money allegedly to be used for buying votes, while quite a few people were arrested almost all over the rest of the country too on charges of attempting to buy votes and other violations of the electoral code of conduct.

Our Chittagong correspondent reported that the port city police last night spotted and confiscated

Tk 41.5 lakh hidden in cartons of soybean oil cans, as it was being transported by a car. The discovery was made when the driver of the car stopped at a police check post at Andorkilla intersection.

According to law enforcers, the vehicle belongs to a man named Javed, son-in-law of Shamsul Alam, a four-party nominee in Chittagong-8 constituency also a leader of BNP. The cartons were also of Shamsul Alam’s oil company, Dada.

The driver, Khorshed Alam, was arrested and was undergoing interrogation at the time of filing this report in the first hour of today. Javed and an accomplice however managed to escape.

Quoting the arrested driver, police said Javed and his accomplice were going to Baklia slum with the money.

Chittagong Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mohammad Moniruzzaman and other high officials of police visited the spot.

When contacted, candidate Shamsul Alam said, “That is not my money.” Asked why the money was being hidden in cartons of his oil company Dada, he replied those cartons can be found in many places.

“The whole affair was staged to humiliate me before the election,” he alleged.

Presiding officer of Tangail-2 poll centre of Pholdah Momtaj Uddin High School, Shafiqul Islam, was arrested by police last night after being caught red-handed while he was stamping ballot papers with the seal of the Election Commission, which he was supposed to do page by page in front of each voter today. The arrestee however said he was just trying to get the work done early, so he would not have to scramble today, reported our Tangail correspondent.

Three campaigners for four-party and Jamaat nominee Moniruzzaman Montu in Nilphamari-2 were arrested by police on charges of trying to buy votes around 2:00am yesterday. The law enforcers confiscated Tk 6,700 and two unregistered motorbikes from their possession. But they were later released to the custody of Montu, as according to police, ‘there was no specific allegation against them’. The three are Ismail Hossain, 28, and Nurul Huda, 28, of Bandarpara village in Kochukata union, and Azad Ali, 50, of Dundori village in the same union. There was another accomplice with them, but he managed to escape.

Around 8:30pm Jamaat activist Moshiur Rahman, 30, who described himself as a teacher of Boraibari Madrasa in Nilphamari district headquarters, was arrested by police from Jummapara of the town while he was distributing money to buy votes. Officer-in-charge of the local police station, Nurul Islam, said if any official charge is filed, they will take proper legal action against the arrestee, according to our local correspondent.

In Noakhali, police arrested two BNP leaders with Tk 70,000 in their possession from the main election camp of four-party alliance candidate Barkat Ullah Bulu at Choumuhoni Golabaria while they were distributing the money among party activists in the evening.

Protesting the arrests, BNP activists blocked a road in the evening, but were dispersed after police resorted to baton charges.

Bulu, who is running for the Noakhali-3 seat, alleged that the administration is biased towards a ‘particular’ candidate. He also demanded release of the BNP leaders.

In Satkhira-3, two campaigners for four-party nominee AM Riasat Ali were arrested last night by police while they were trying to buy votes. The law enforcers confiscated Tk 54,500 from their possession. The arrestees are AKM Ehsanul Haque of Old Satkhira Town, and Wahidul Islam of Katia Sarkarpara of the same town, reported our Satkhira correspondent.

In Kurigram-2 police arrested Chowdhury Shafiqul Islam, brother of four-party nominee Tajul Islam Chowdhury, and his four accomplices while they were distributing money among voters to buy votes and were also distributing defamatory leaflets against rival AL-led grand alliance nominee also Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad. They were going around Balarhat Bazar area in Naudanga union of Phulbari upazila in a sport utility vehicle sporting a BNP flag. Police also confiscated the vehicle and some money from their possession, reported our Kurigram correspondent.

In Magura, police arrested three campaigners for BNP-led four-party alliance nominee Iqbal Aktar Khan, and confiscated Tk 1.96 lakh cash from them. The law enforcers also seized a car from the possession of the arrestees. Witnesses said they were distributing money to buy votes.

In Khulna, police arrested five supporters of a four-party candidate from Paikgachha and Koira areas and confiscated Tk 27,000 from the arrestees.

Sayani Union Parishad Chairman Jamal Uddin also a BNP leader of Noakhali was arrested in the afternoon in connection with violating the electoral code of conduct.

original source

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