Defiant councillor candidates in Dhaka give Awami League, BNP headache

  • Sumon Mahmud and Shahidul Islam, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-01-18 03:41:22 BdST

bdnews24

Councillor candidates backed by the two main political camps are scratching their heads over rebel contenders from their own parties in the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations.

They fear the rebellious aspirants will split the party vote banks leading to victory of candidates of the rival political groups.

The political parties have chosen their councillor candidates, but unlike the mayor runners, they are contesting in the polls with different symbols other than the party ones in line with the law.

AWAMI LEAGUE

Mirpur Awami League President Dewan Abdul Mannan, who has won the ruling party’s backing as a councillor candidate, said on Friday that he had informed the central leadership about the rebel candidates in his Ward -11 under Dhaka North City Corporation but has seen no action.

Local MP Aslamul Haque’s brother-in-law Md Mansur Ali and former president of the party’s Mirpur unit Gazi Aliar Rahman are among Mannan’s rivals.

Jahangir Hossain, who is running for re-election as Ward-54 councillor with the Awami League’s support, said he had asked the local leaders of the party, who are contesting for the post, to quit the race.

“But they are not listening. It would have been easier for me to win had they withdrawn. Now I need to work more,” he said.

Ward No. 9 in the South has six councillor candidates, including the Awami League-backed Mozammel Haque.

The other councillor candidates in the ward much discussed in the casino scam include sacked councillor AKM Mominul Haque Sayeed and his wife Farhana Ahmed Boishakhi.

“I am contesting in the elections under pressure from the people of the ward. No one has barred me yet. And I know nothing about my husband contesting for the post,” Boishakhi said.

The party’s central leadership was “not thinking” about those who did not win its backing, said Abdur Rahman, a member of the party’s presidium.

“Because someone working against the party’s decision does not belong to the party at all,” he told bdnews24.com.

General Secretary Obaidul Quader, however, warned against rebellion.

Efforts were on to make the rebel candidates withdraw candidacy, he told a news conference.

BNP

Helal Kabir, a candidate for Ward-23 councillor backed by the opposition party, said the rebel candidates were trying to mislead the voters and supporters.

“But the voters in my ward know why they are defying the party’s decision,” he told bdnews24.com.

The party has a total of 37 of its local leaders contesting without its backing in 75 wards under the two city corporations, according to its central and local leaders.

Many of these candidates have gone against the party’s choice while the rest were kept by the party itself as it fears arrest of its candidates in any of a horde of cases they face.

The party is also working to have its rebel candidates out of the races.

Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, a member of its National Standing Committee, said it was an “important” election to the party as part of its movement to free its chief Khaleda Zia from jail.

He urged the rebel candidates to withdraw candidature.

Another member of the party’s policymaking body said they were considering setting up a deadline for the withdrawal.