Decision on expelled AL leader Zahangir’s mayorship soon, says LGRD minister

The government will decide within a 'day or two' whether Zahangir Alam, the Gazipur City mayor expelled from the Awami League, will retain his current post, said Local Government and Rural Development Minister Tajul Islam.

The Awami League expelled Zahangir, who was elected Gazipur mayor as an Awami League candidate in 2018, on Friday over his remarks on Bangabandhu and Liberation War martyrs.

As he ran the mayoral race under the party symbol, there have been questions about whether he could still hold on to the post.

Law Minister Anisul Huq declined to make any remark and left the issue with the LGRD minister.

On Saturday, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam said his ministry would look into the legal aspect of the issue and take the necessary steps.

"We're looking into the law. We have a specific department and they are reviewing it," he said on Monday. When asked how long it would take to make the decision, he said it may take a day or two.

The minister did not provide any hint of what awaits Zahangir. "We can only make a statement after we go through the laws,' he said.

According to the Local Government Law, a mayor can be suspended in case he is convicted of moral misdeeds. However, the law does not have a clear directive regarding those who get expelled from a political party.

This is also the first incident in the past five years where a city corporation mayor has been in a position of being removed since the local government elections started using party symbols.

A public representative elected under their party symbol cannot hold the mayoral post if expelled from the party, said former election commissioner Abdul Mobarak.

"That's because he is not a member of the party anymore. He loses his chair (mayor post) once expelled from the party. It's a general rule.”