Advocate Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu, the Awami League-nominated boat symbol candidate for Barguna-1 (Barguna Sadar-Amtali-Taltali) constituency, has been accused of making women appear in processions and gatherings with money. A video of a councilor of Amtali Municipality distributing money to women on behalf of Shambhu went viral on social media Facebook on Friday. However, the councilor claimed that the distribution of money was ‘donation, not for gathering’.
In the viral video of distribution of money on Friday evening, it can be seen that ward number 3 councilor Habibur Rahman Mir is distributing money to women in a row at Amtali Municipal Hall. Behind him is the election banner of the boat symbol in the Barguna-1 constituency. Another woman councilor was also present there.
Golam Charwar Forkan, an independent candidate of Barguna-1 constituency, said, ‘It is a very shameful thing. Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu’s public meeting, women are presented in exchange for money, what can be more degraded than this? I have received complaints that the mayor of Amtali municipality is taking women to various rallies with candidate money. On the one hand they are using muscle power to threaten the voters. On the other hand, people are showing up in exchange for black money. I will inform the Election Commission about this.’
When Municipal Councilor Habibur Rahman Mir was called on his mobile phone, he said, ‘I am a councillor. I often distribute money on my behalf among poor people. Money has been distributed here too on my behalf.’
Habibur Rahman cut the mobile phone line when asked whether he knew that giving money during elections was a violation of the code of conduct.
In this regard, Amtali Upazila Executive Officer and Assistant Returning Officer Mohammad Ashraful Alam said, ‘If we could have caught them red-handed while giving the money, then we could have taken action under the mobile court. Since that did not happen, after watching the video, we will take appropriate action through the Election Commission’s Election Inquiry Committee.’