South Asia

Blockade won’t affect poll: Bangladesh CEC

In this January 1, 2014 photo, passengers wait for a train at a railway station during an ongoing blockade called by opposition parties, in Dhaka.   | Photo Credit: A.M. Ahad

Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad on Thursday said the indefinite blockade called by the opposition parties would not affect the January 5 parliamentary elections.

After apprising poll preparations to President Abdul Hamid this evening, the CEC told the media that no vehicle, except authorised ones, will be allowed to ply before the elections.

“So there will be no problem to polls due to the blockade.”

The Election Commission has already asked the administration for security blankets around all voting centres from Saturday. Patrol by mobile teams and striking forces of the law enforcers would be intensified, the EC said.

Amid indefinite blockade called by the opposition BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami-led alliance, the election in 147 constituencies out of the total 300 will be held on Sunday. Due to boycott by opposition, a total of 153 parliamentary seats have already been elected uncontested, giving the opposition a score for questioning the acceptability of the polls.

The opposition alliance enforced a nonstop blockade for the second day on Thursday but modes of transport, other than long-distance buses, were plying as usual, reported the local media. In Dhaka, the situation was almost normal on Thursday .

Although the state of violence marked a considerable improvement with the deployment of the army and sustained drives by the joint forces to recover unauthorised arms and explosives, the opposition activists have continued to attack the ruling party leaders and candidates of the elections across the country.

Attacks amid campaign

On Thursday, they attacked a convoy of a senior ruling party leader Mohammad Nasim outside Dhaka, blasted bombs targeting a rally of a ruling party candidate in the capital but failed to foil the pre-poll atmosphere where rival candidates were engaged in hectic electioneering.

They also launched attacks on election rallies and processions and set on fire several election offices earlier.

Local media have reported that several crude bombs have exploded near the American Club in Dhaka’s Gulshan area on Thursday evening. None was reportedly injured.

Police said that the bombs exploded on the street near the club at 6.45 p.m. However, they could not say who hurled the bombs amid the opposition’s non-stop blockades.

The U.S. embassy announced on Thursday that it will be closed on January 5 in view of the elections.

Meanwhile, US-based Foreign Policy magazine has listed Bangladesh among the world’s ten most dangerous regions.

It also apprehended that conflict in these regions could even threaten global stability.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 11:00:47 AM |

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