‘BNP voters will be dropped from beneficiary list if they don't go to vote’

Incumbent Awami League MP and the party's candidate in the next parliamentary election, Ramesh Chandra Sen, addresses a public rally at a Union in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila on 20 December in 2023Collected

In a public rally on Wednesday, Ramesh Chandra Sen, an advisory council member of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) and the party’s candidate in the Thakurgaon-1 (Sadar) constituency, warned that if supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) fail to show up at the polling centers during the upcoming 12th parliamentary elections, their names will be removed from the list of beneficiaries of various government programmes.  

A video of Ramesh’s speech quickly went viral on social media. 

"The floating voters of BNP must cast their votes. If you don’t participate in voting, and if you are beneficiaries of various government programmes, then your names will be removed from the list. I stand by my words. I've added names, and I'll remove them. If you go to the polling centers, the center committee members, including the president and general secretary, will be present, and they will take note of your attendance. Everyone will be accounted for, and actions will be taken accordingly if you choose not to vote,” stated Ramesh Chandra Sen during an election campaign at Pokati Centre Hat in Nargun Union of Thakurgaon Sadar upazila in the afternoon. 

Incumbent Member of Parliament Ramesh Chandra Sen has been elected as an MP of Awami League in the elections of 2008, 2014, and 2018. 

Highlighting the development activities of the Awami League in the constituency, the ruling party’s candidate said, "The extensive development we have accomplished in the Thakurgaon Sadar upazila surpasses achievements elsewhere, except in Dhaka and Chattogram. During my tenure as a minister, I worked as needed. There is nothing that I did not undertake. We will come to power again because our activities are exceptionally good. We don’t misappropriate even a dime; no one can claim to have paid us money. Even if someone contributes money, it is spent for the party. We don’t touch that money."

While addressing the rally, he further stated, "I came here earlier to establish a center committee and issued some directives. Today, a rally is being held to motivate you to go to the polling centers. Women will go first and cast their votes, and the men, who are the guardians, will follow later. However, the guardians must remain at the centers. The voting should take place in a celebratory atmosphere. I guarantee that no one will touch you there. If anyone does anything, there will be immediate retribution. Army, BGB, RAB, and police forces will be present at every polling center, along with 200-300 AL activists. We won't spare anyone. Although we made a mistake once, we won't repeat it. Stay alert, all of you."

Prothom Alo attempted to contact Ramesh Chandra Sen over the phone to discuss the speech, but he did not answer the call.

Nargun Union Parishad Chairman Serekul Islam was present at the rally. Speaking about the MP’s speech, he said, "Uncle (Ramesh Chandra Sen) never speaks in that manner at any public rally. We don’t know what happened today. Mobilizing voters to go to the polling centers is a significant challenge in this election. Maybe that’s why he spoke that way."

Regarding this, Returning Officer and Deputy Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman told Prothom Alo, "This cannot be considered an electioneering speech. It is of a different nature. We shall look into the matter."