Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lively campaign starts for Rajshahi city polls

With announcement of the schedule for Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) polls on Friday, all probable candidates for the post of mayor and councillors have beefed up electioneering.

Probable candidates from the Awami League and BNP-Jamaat coalition too passing busy days meeting people as part of their election campaign even though the major parties are still dragging feet from taking part in the elections.

Several of them, speaking in return for anonymity, said, their parties would soon understand the necessity of taking part in the elections, otherwise, they would join the polls independently.

At least 17 probable candidates from seven political parties, including two newly formed ones, have already informed newsmen that they are keen to take part in the fray.

Workers' Party's politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha is seen to be enjoying advantageous position in the present situation.

"One can call it electioneering, but I am meeting people as usual… As far as I know, I am the candidate of Awami League-led 14-party combine," said Fazle Hossain Badsha.

Badsha, contesting the last RCC polls with Rajshahi Nagorik Committee ticket and support by Awami League, alleged polls rigging for his defeat to Minu in marginal votes and his case filed for the alleged poll rigging is still under trial.

Rajshahi city Awami League Secretary AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, an aspirant in the mayoral contest and confident of getting support of the party's central leaders, told this correspondent, "I will take part in the election. I am visiting wards on foot everyday and exchanging compliments with electorates."

City AL President Maksudul Haque Dulu said he decided to vie for the election long ago and he is working to that end.

For BNP, facing the local government race is quite difficult as it has dipped into a leader crisis following imprisonment of former Rajshahi mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu over conviction in an extortion case.

However, eight persons from the party are intending to contest the polls.

In Minu's absence, the party's central office secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi who was silent during BNP-Jamaat coalition rule, started working for the mayoral fray long ago.

Many party insiders believe that Rizvi has potential but he will have to face many emerging leaders.

Rajshahi city Jubo Dal President Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul was ahead among other BNP men who are willing to vie.

Names of district BNP's former general secretaries -- Enamul Haque and Quamrul Monir, organising secretary Alauddin, former women BNP stalwart Jahan Panna, fugitive former BNP lawmaker Nadim Mostafa's brother Shahid Hasan, BNP adherent Shahin Shawkat are being heard for the mayoral post.

If the central leaders of BNP decide to go for the city corporation election, local BNP might see disagreement for the mayoral post with Jamaat-e-Islami.

"If four-party takes part in the polls, I will be a candidate," said Rajshahi city Jamaat Ameer Ataur Rahman said, claiming that he was leading the local four-party alliance in Minu's absence.

Jamaat's city committee assistant general secretary Abul Kalam Azad and senior leader Siddik Hussain are also intending to contest.

Jatiya Party (Ershad) city unit President Durul Huda said he is hopeful of winning in the RCC polls.

Ferdous Ahmed Qureshi's newly formed Progressive Development Party (PDP) has already announced its mayoral candidate -- local PDP convenor Raihanur Rahman -- through a tele-conference on Saturday.

Abdul Matin Khan, another aspirant for the mayoral post, is electioneering under the banner of Amra Rajshahi Basi.

Many new faces are also likely to come forward following leadership crisis and internal feuds in different political parties.

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