By Tin Soe

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The National Unity Party (NUP) has started campaigning for the 2010 elections in southern Maungdaw since November 26, said a local elder from Alaythankyaw village.

The NUP’s organizational in-charge for Maungdaw, U Ba Than son of U Ba Htun, an Arakanese Rakhine, is spearheading the campaign with the support of the Township Peace and Development Council, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swarn ann Shin, he added.

On November 26, the NUP stated campaigning at the Burma border security force (Nasaka) sector number 8 with the help of the authorities. They distributed 20 kgs of rice, one kilogram of edible oil and one longyi (Sarong) to a family, said a village authority member from Inndin village.

The NUP campaigned in southern Maungdaw; Inndin, Kyaukpundu (Sitarpawrika), Myinthlut (Mayrulla) and Thawinchaung (Bossara) from November 26 to 30, the village authority members said.

In Inndin, there was an argument between the NUP members and a youth. “Thanks for your help, but we are not sure of supporting you in the coming election,” said the youth to the NUP members. The youth was arrested by Nasaka and released after two hours with a warning, said a local from the village.

From December 1 till now the NUP is campaigning in northern Maungdaw where they are looking at people in the age of 18 and without colour-coded Citizens Scrutiny Cards (CRCs). It is issuing cards to them without any charge, said a school teacher.

“This is the reason, poor people who could not pay charges to the authorities earlier, joined them to get their white cards or pink cards,” the teacher said.

On the other hand, some elders from the village told the villagers to think of the current situation and look for a change to democracy. “This is the last change for us to change the situation,” they told villagers of Nasaka sector 4.