With only a day left before the end of poll canvassing, vote seeking by mayoral and councillor candidates of the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) reached its peak on Saturday.
Almost all the candidates or their supporters were found campaigning in their respective localities in various manners.
DSCC Awami League-backed mayoral candidate Sayeed Khokon and his supporters campaigned in different parts of his constituencies and sought ballots for his 'Hilsa' symbol.
Khokon, meanwhile, participated at a roundtable held in the East-West Media Group Conference Room where he promised that he would not allow anyone to turn the Nagar Bhaban into a party office rather he would make it a service centre for the city dwellers.
He said, "The city dwellers have much expectation from an elected mayor. They come to the mayor with various problems and seek a solution to those. Although the authority of a city mayor has some limitations, he or she can show his/her 'good-will' for those who have elevated him/her to the high office of the city mayor."
"If elected, I will try to find out all the problems and solve those," he added.
Khokon, son of the first elected mayor of Dhaka City Corporation Mohammad Hanif, said that it would be one of his duties to arrange a dialogue titled 'Dhaka Dialogue' with the participation of people from all walks of life in case of him being elected to the office.
"My father's dream was to establish a 'city government.' But that could not be implemented. I will try my best to translate his dream into reality," he said and added, "I have learnt from my father how to find out the problems and the ways to solve those."
"I think the main problem of Dhaka is traffic jam that is caused due to illegal car parking here and there. The awareness of this is enough to solve the problem."
He said, "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has constructed several flyovers and taken up some fresh projects to remove traffic jam. "If I am elected, I will try to implement those."
Afroza Abbas, wife of Mirza Abbas, a mayoral candidate of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), alleged that the government was inviting violence in the city corporation elections.
She said this while she along with some leaders and activists of BNP was canvassing for the 'Mug' symbol of her husband, mayoral aspirant, Mirza Abbas at Mir Hazirbagh under Jatrabari in the morning.
Afroza said, "We thought that the polls would be held in a peaceful manner. But the government is now turning it toward hostility. The police are harassing our activists during electioneering. The ruling party men are threatening our polling agents not to attend the poll centres on the election-day."
She said, "Now the voters and the mass media are our biggest strength."
She requested the voters to cast their votes on April 28. "It is your (electorates) rights to cast votes. We will not allow anyone to rig votes."
Afroza described the main problems of the DSCC are terrorism and drug trade. "The dwellers of the city want a liveable city. If Abbas was elected, he would be able to do so."
Pro-BNP academic and former Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Emajuddin Ahmed, among others, accompanied her.
Emajuddin said that the EC did not take any action against attackers on BNP Chief Khaleda Zia's motorcade. But when Khaleda began poll canvassing, the EC issued a notice by mentioning violation of polls code of conduct against her.
He said that if the polls were not fair, the situation would deteriorate. "If the polls are fair, the situation will also improve." The EC and the government would be held responsible for anything that goes wrong during the election, he warned.
Among other candidates, Anisur Rahman Anis, President of Dhaka Metropolitan (South) Unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and AL-blessed councillor candidate of Ward-2 of DSCC, canvassed at South Goran, North Goran, Baganbari, Shantipur and South Banasree on Saturday.
During campaigning, he promised the voters to introduce free internet service with wireless fidelity (wi-fi).
Meanwhile the candidates for mayoral race in Dhaka North City Corporation are also making last minute hectic vote seeking on Saturday as the campaigning closes at midnight on Sunday.
The ruling Awami League-backed mayoral aspirant Annisul Huq on Saturday said that it is not impossible to build Dhaka like Singapore. "To materialize the dream, I have participated in the election slated to be held on April 28," the former FBCCI President said.
Annisul, who got 'table clock' as polls symbol, said the main problem of the city corporation is corruption. "To stop graft, I will launch e-tendering at first," he said, adding that all the DNCC services will be gradually brought digital services.
The ruling party-blessed candidate campaigned in Farmgate, Tejkuni Para, Tejturi Bazar, Kochukhet Bazar, Kafrul, Bhashantek and Uttara on Saturday. Annisul also attended a concert arranged as a part of his canvass in Mirpur's Pallabi.
Meanwhile, the BNP-blessed mayoral candidate for Dhaka North City Corporation Tabith Awal on Saturday said if elected, his focus will be on making public transportation available to all the commuters. The public transportation system has to be standard and women-friendly.
"If elected, I will create pressure on the government to allocate funds for the development works for the city," Tabith said at a roundtable discussion organised by a Bangla daily on the occasion of upcoming city polls.
The BNP-backed candidate claimed that during his electioneering he realised that there is a distance between the people and the government. "I will work on this issue and solve problems this way if elected," Tabith said.
Tabith campaigned at various areas of Uttara and Kuril on Saturday.