BNP’s Ishraque alleges harassment of campaigners

Aditto Rimon
Published : 06:00, Jan 21, 2020 | Updated : 20:24, Jan 22, 2020

BNP mayor candidate for Dhaka South City Corporation Ishraque Hossain during an interview with Bangla Tribune PHOTO/Sazzad Hossain

Election has become part of a political battle but this was not the case in the past, said BNP mayor candidate for the upcoming city polls, Ishraque Hossain.
A little while ago, one of our senior leaders was arrested; we are trying to get a release for him so the election time celebration is just a myth.
BNP candidate Ishraque Hossain talked to Bangla Tribune. Excerpts from the interview are given below:
BT: Will the ACC case of non-submission of wealth statement have any impact on the election?
IH: The government is exploiting the judiciary at all levels and this is because there is a tide towards BNP. But the people are intelligent and can see that a small issue is being highlighted leaving rapes, money laundering, share market scams etc.
BT: You are new in politics; why will people vote for you?
IH: “I have grown up in this city experiencing many of its problems; secondly, 80 per cent people are against the government and there is a need for change.”
My father was the mayor of undivided Dhaka and has huge contribution to the development of the city. I used to learn from him the problems facing Dhaka and also have an engineering degree.
Young voters will be my main power.
BT: Why do you express fear about transparent elections?
IH: Fair election is never possible under party government because the party in power is using the state machinery to its advantage. People know how the 30 December election was held. The caretaker system was scrapped and our campaigns are facing regular hurdles.
BT: Which work will be given priority if you are elected mayor?
IH: The first priority is eradication of mosquitoes followed by easing of traffic jams and waste management plus proper drainage.
BT: During the last local government election, BNP’s polling agents were not seen; how can you settle this problem?
IH: Who will be appointed as polling agents? The police harass our agents and during the 11th parliamentary elections, around ten thousand workers and activists of BNP were arrested. If there is no harassment we will be able to give polling agents.
BT: Why are you against EVM?
IH: We know that using the EVM, results can be overturned but despite knowing this, we are taking part in the polls. At the same time, we have maintained our call for the cancellation of the EVMs.
BT: We are not seeing BNP posters. Why?
IH: Our posters are being torn. Those plastering them are being arrested or beaten up. Four persons were arrested from Dhanmondi while they were plastering posters.
BT: Any plans for making city safe for women and children?
IH: Our manifesto will have some suggestions on this.
BT: How do you regard your opponent?
IH: I don’t want to comment on my opponent; it’s up to the people to do that. If the people are allowed to vote freely, they will give their verdict.