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POST TIME: 22 January, 2020 01:18:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 January, 2020 10:56:56 AM
Tabith attacked while campaigning
BNP blames AL activists; AL sees plot to make polls controversial
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Tabith attacked while campaigning

Supporters of BNP mayoral candidate for Dhaka North City Corporation Tabith Awal guard him against a miscreants’ attack during his electioneering in Gabtali area yesterday. Star Mail Photo

BNP’s mayoral candidate for Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) elections Tabith Awal was attacked during electioneering in Gabtali area yesterday. BNP blamed ruling Awami League supporters for the attack. The ruling party, however, denied the allegation saying that the attack is a conspiracy to make the city polls controversial. The incident took place in the Anandanagar oil mill area at about 11am, soon after Tabith, along with his supporters, started campaigning. The attackers chased Tabith and his followers carrying homemade weapons and threw brickbats and eggs. BNP supporters tried to resist the attackers. About 10–15 persons, including Tabith, BNP leader Shahiduddin Chowdhury Anie, two journalists, Syed Khan and Robin, were injured during the half-an-hour-long chase and counter-chase between the two groups. BNP supporters alleged that the Awami League's (AL's) ward councillor candidate, Mujib Sarwar Masum, led the attack chanting “Joy Bangla". Later, talking to reporters, Tabith, who claimed he received minor injuries, termed the attack as "cowardly" and asserted that no attack will stop them from campaigning.

The BNP candidate also claimed that Mujib Sarwar Masum and his followers attacked them in the presence of some police officers while they were campaigning in Mirpur’s Borobazar area. He, however, thanked policemen for discharging their duty and called upon them to take action against the attackers in line with the law of the land.

He urged party leaders and supporters to maintain a peaceful atmosphere, saying the electioneering would continue and they would not be cowed down by the attack. Tabith, along with party standing committee member, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, again began electioneering at 5pm from ward No. 16 of Dhaka North. "The attack proves that a mass upsurge has been created among the people in favour of 'sheaf of paddy'. It was the result of panic in the rival camp," he said. Earlier, Tabith campaigned in front of Porbot Cinema Hall at Gabtoli and later at Courtbari, Bazarpara, Horirampur, Golartek, Diyabari, Bordhon Bari, Baghbari, Gabtoli Bus Stand and Lakeview areas.

AL sees conspiracy behind attack

The Awami League sees conspiracy to make the Dhaka civic polls controversial. Ruling party leaders said they are always against such attacks on opposition candidates. From the beginning, the BNP has been trying to make the upcoming Dhaka City Corporation elections, slated for February 1, controversial in different ways, they note.

Talking to the media, AL joint general secretary and information minister, Hasan Mahmud, said yesterday: “The attack on BNP mayoral candidate Tabith Awal can be part of a conspiracy to make the polls controversial. A proper investigation should be carried out to see whether there is any conspiracy to spoil the existing congenial atmosphere.”

He was briefing the media at his ministry’s conference room.

Talking to this correspondent on the attack incident, AL joint general secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim said: “We don’t support such acts. Besides, I am not fully aware of the incident. If it has really happened, the Election Commission (EC) should take action against the culprits.”

The AL’s mayoral candidate for the DNCC, Atiqul Islam, said the attack on Tabith might have happened due to internal feud.

Asking Tabith not to make allegations, Atiqul said he would “continue to tell the story of development” to the voters.

“People will vote for me in the coming elections to help the government implement development projects in the city to turn it into a modern one,” he added.

Atiqul campaigned in the Beraid, Badda, Satarkul and Natunbazar areas yesterday.

The AL’s mayoral candidate for the DSCC, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, yesterday campaigned in the old city’s Roysaheb market area.

He said the BNP was taking part in the polls in a bid to make it questionable. “In the name of joining the polls, they (BNP leaders) want to launch a movement for getting their party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, released from prison. They don’t want development of Dhaka city; they don’t want to serve the city residents,” he added.

Calling upon the city dwellers to cast their votes in favour of the “boat” symbol, Taposh said he, if elected, would turn Dhaka into a modern capital of a developed nation.

IK