Jatiya Oikyafront leaders, led by its top leader and Ganaforum president Dr Kamal Hossain, are going to kick off their formal campaigning for the "sheaf of paddy" symbol today after visiting the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shah Poran (R) and Bangabir General MAG Osmani.Travelling to Sylhet this afternoon, the leaders will attend a roadside meeting following their visit to the shrines. Dr Kamal would lead the campaign for the alliance contesting the 11th parliamentary election on BNP’s traditional election symbol ‘sheaf of paddy’, in the absence of its jailed chairperson Khaleda Zia.
BNP chairperson’s media wing officer, Shairul Kabir Khan, said BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, JSD president ASM Abdur Rab, BKSJL president Bangabir Kader Siddiqui, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and others, would join the formal poll campaign.
Meanwhile, leaders of Oikyafront have expressed concern over attacks on their candidates and followers, allegedly by ruling party activists, and called upon the government and the Election Commission to take measures to ensure a congenial atmosphere for holding the general election in a free and fair manner.
“Attacks on Oikyafront activists are a matter of concern and is not desirable at all. There should be a congenial atmosphere to carry out poll campaigns,” he said while talking to The Independent last night.
He also termed the attacks on opposition activists unexpected. The Oikyafront leader called upon the government and the EC to take steps to stop such attacks.
He said Oikyafront will lodge a written complaint with the EC in this regard.
BNP vice-chairman and chief coordinator of Oikyafront, Barkatullah Bulu, alleged that the Awami League is carrying out the attacks in a bid to prevent the BNP and Oikyafront from participating in the polls.
“The AL is carrying out the attacks as the ruling party fears it could lose the polls because its popularity is on the wane,” he said.
He asserted that the BNP’s source of strength was the people, and they would cast their votes for the "sheaf of paddy".
Bulu said they would discuss the latest development, including attacks at different places, at its coordination committee meeting, and the street committee of the Oikyafront would take a decision at its meeting soon.
Oikyafront sources alleged that BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Isalm Alamgir’s motorcade was attacked by local Awami League men in his hometown Thakurgaon yesterday (Tuesday).
Besides, attacks were also carried out on opposition activists at different places, including Noakhali-5, Narail-2 and Bogura-5 constituencies, sources added.
BNP standing committee member, Mirza Abbas, who is contesting from the Dhaka-8 constituency, said at a press conference at his Shajahanpur residence that he was suffering from a sense of insecurity. He alleged that law enforcers, including policemen in plain clothes, were seen moving about in front of his residence.
He said relatives or party workers were unable to enter his residence, and about 20 party activists had been arrested from his constituency till Monday.
Abbas also alleged that the government did not want the BNP to contest the elections.