Monday, August 4, 2008

RCC Mayoral Polls: Jamaat support may not benefit BNP candidates as infighting widens


Pro-BNP mayoral candidates in Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) election are unlikely to achieve any gains despite Jamaat's last moment support due to widening infighting between them.

The split between the groups loyal to jailed mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu and former BNP lawmaker Kabir Hossain was created over the selection of acting mayor Rejaunnabi Dudu and city Jubo Dal President Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul as mayoral candidates

Apparently, Kabir-group is supporting BNP-adherent Dudu while Minu's group is backing Bulbul.

But, a large section of Minu's group has reportedly developed opinion against Bulbul widening the crisis further.

They alleged that those who were engaged in tender vandalism and corruption during BNP-Jamaat coalition rule and responsible for Minu's jail, are also campaigning for Bulbul.

Although Minu gave his support to Bulbul from jail, but many of his followers said Minu does not want the emergence of any other leader than he himself, especially a junior leader like Bulbul.

Former district BNP general secretary Enamul Haque is also in the election race making another split of BNP.

Though Rajshahi is a stronghold of BNP-Jamaat, the alliance is now facing an image crisis among the voters as a number of its party leaders including Minu are facing charges for graft and abetting militancy.

At this stage of crisis in Rajshahi BNP, a faction of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh led by its city General Secretary Abul Kalam Azad announced its support for Bulbul yesterday.

Jamaat was abstaining from electioneering from the very beginning, but in a quick twist of stance, it provided the support as Azad and Bulbul are cousins, said sources.

Considering splits in BNP, Awami League (AL) candidate AHM Khairuzzaman Liton is dominating the race, but he will also have to overcome rivalry with other party compatriots like city AL President Masudul Haque Dulu and AL leader Nasir Ahmed Biddyut.

Besides, Liton was still lobbying with the AL- led 14-party's Fazle Hossain Badsha for his support, but Badsha had declined as his Workers' Party is boycotting the election.

However, Liton's followers are more organised following the visits of central AL leaders including Motia Chowdhury, Tofail Ahmed, Prof Abu Sayeed and Sardar Amjad Hossain.

Prominent among other mayor hopefuls are Jatiya Party candidate Durul Huda, Progressive Development Party's Raihanur Rahman, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh's Akhtaruzzaman Bablu, Bangladesh Samajtrantik Dal's Ruhul Kuddus Tunu and independent candidate Siddikur Rahman.

Also in the race are 63 candidates for 10 reserved seats for women and 203 candidates for 30 councillor seats.

The number of voters in the city is 2,58,759.

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