Farce it Really was
candidate Mossaddak Ali Falu was declared elected with 78,727
votes in Dhaka-10 by-polls amidst unprecedented intimidation
of voters and a free-style vote rigging.
The fight for the capital's most prestigious
seat in the national parliament turned into a farce immediately
after it started in the early morning. The government made
a mockery of a High Court ruling that ordered the government
to deploy members of the army in every polling centres. Instead
of manning the polling booths, members of the army kept them
selves busy patrolling on the street. Hordes of young Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) supporters captured most of the polling
booths even before the battle royal saw the light of the day.
"Fake voters from Demra, Lalbagh, Kamrangir Char, Motijheel
and Sabujbagh 'cast' votes mostly between 8 am and 10 am.
Later they hung around at different polling centres,"
a Daily Star report says.
fact, most of the voting centres were off limits to the opposition
Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh candidate's polling agents; Falu
loyalists even chased Major (retd) Mannan, the BDB candidate,
out of Hossain Ali Primary School in Nakhalpara, where he
went to observe the polling. "Our voters and polling
agents were driven away. I had no option but to boycott the
election and appealed to the Election Commission to cancel
it," Mannan told the reporters who were accompanying
However, the Election Commission office in
Sher-e-Bangla Nogor witnessed another act of Victorian farce.
Acting Chief Election Commissioner (ACEC) was not present
in the office while the BDB candidate stormed the EC headquarters
with fellow BDB leader Mahi B Chowdhury, demanding cancellation
of the election. While Mannan complained that army-men were
not deployed at the polling centres, Munsef Ali, one of the
Election Commissioners, said, "But I have seen them."
Mahi B Chowdhury MP tried to help Munsef understand the BDB
candidate's plea. To which Munsef reiterated with: "The
two centres I have visited, I have seen army there."
At this point Mannan just lost it and hollered at Munsef,
"you are telling a lie"; the election commissioner
retorted back with "You can't speak like this. It is
you who is lying."
was, in fact, well in the BNP camp; as local dailies were
littered with news of false balloting, the ruling party had
brushed aside the allegations as baseless. "The election
was free and fair; and was held in the most peaceful manner,"
said Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the BNP secretary general. The
claim is laughable at a time when the ACEC declared the by-polls
as "not satisfactory." Being asked if the poll was
held in a free, fair and impartial manner, the ACEC Saifur
Rahman said, "These are very weighty words…I can
only say the poll was not totally satisfactory."
is, however, quite turbid to the general people why the BNP,
which came to power in an electoral landslide, has to resort
to vote rigging to win elections. "The Prime Minister
has ruined all her political achievements just to get her
favourite man elected," Mahi B Chowdhury said. "The
by-election marked the death of democracy," the BDB MP
Legend Brando Dies at 80
legend Marlon Brando, famous for his roles in On the Waterfront
and The Godfather, died aged 80 in a Los Angeles hospital.
Brando, who had been ill for some time, was regarded as one
of the pivotal actors of the post-war period.
starred in more than 40 films, including Apocalypse Now, and
won two best actor Oscars. Brando is perhaps best known for
his role as Mafia leader Don Corleone in the 1972 classic
The Godfather. Brando's lawyer, David J Seeley, said the cause
of death was being withheld and added that the actor "was
a very private man".
Bertolucci, who directed Brando in Last Tango in Paris said:
"None of us had ever encountered such a living legend,
and for lovers of cinema he was perhaps the only true legend
who'd ever lived.”
Americans have also mourned the passing of a high-profile
campaigner for their cause. Brando famously sent a woman in
native American garb to collect one of his Oscar awards and
to protest at the US' neglect towards the continent's earliest
received eight Oscar nominations during his lifetime - all
for best actor apart from his most recent nod in 1990 for
A Dry White Season, which was for best supporting actor. His
two Oscar wins were for On the Waterfront and The Godfather.
The other nominations were for Last Tango in Paris (1973),
Sayonara (1957), Julius Caesar (1953), Viva Zapata! (1952)
and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
the time of his death, he was working with French-Tunisian
director, Ridha Behi, on a film following an Arab youth's
gradual disenchantment with the American dream. He was to
have played himself in "Brando and Brando" - personifying
of all that outsiders admire about America.
personal life was well documented and marked by tragedy. The
Brando family was in the spotlight at the murder trial of
the actor's son Christian, accused of killing the abusive
fiancée of his sister Cheyenne in 1990. Christian later
served five years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter.
Brando's daughter Cheyenne, on the other hand, committed suicide
had at least 11 children with three ex-wives and various other
women. In later years, the actor became increasingly reclusive.
Brando, who had a well-documented weight problem, told an
interviewer in the 1990s that he had withdrawn under the stress
of being constantly in the public eye. "I've had so much
misery in my life, being famous and wealthy," he said.
Source: BBC online
(R) thedailystar.net 2004