Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Electioneering starts in Rajshahi

With the Jatiya Sangsad elections drawing nearer, potential candidates from major parties have geared up their electioneering in all the five constituencies in Rajshahi city.

Some of the candidates have started campaigning at villages while some are holding press conferences to express their willingness to join the political fray and others are greeting people pasting posters on the city walls.

Most of the possible candidates started campaigning during Ramadan and they intensified their daily activities of meeting people taking opportunity of the two major festivals -- Eid-ul-Fitr and Durga Puja.

The electioneering shows that Awami League-led 14-party combine is in the lead position though it has been facing intra-party rivalry to some extent while BNP-led four-party alliance is yet to be prepared without any leader or office to guide them.

Workers' Party politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha has started meeting people expressing his desire to participate in the polls from Rajshahi-2 (Paba upazila and Rajshahi City). Party men here signalled that his nomination from the alliance is almost confirmed.

Rajshahi Nagorik Committee that played a vital role in electioneering in favour of AHM Khairuzzaman Liton in the August 4 RCC election had promised to work for Badsha to get a ticket for the parliamentary election if he resigns from the RCC fray.

Four-party men said Badsha may fight the fray with former BNP lawmaker (Rajshahi-5) Kabir Hossain, although any formal announcement is yet to come from Kabir.

Former Rajshahi mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu who was also the former BNP lawmaker from Rajshahi-2 used to control the party politics here.

As he is still in the jail and have little hopes for his release before the elections following conviction in an extortion case, the local BNP could not decide the candidature for the polls.

Kabir's desire for contesting from this seat might create division in the party, they added.

District AL General Secretary Omar Faruk Chowdhury is campaigning for Rajshahi-1 constituency (Tanore and Godagari upazilas). Former post and telecommunications minister barrister Aminul Haque who won the seat in the last polls is now evading arrest as he was convicted in a militancy-abetting case.

Former lawmaker and Jamaat-e-Islam's central Assistant Secretary General Mujibur Rahman is likely to join the fray, said party insiders.

Former minister Sardar Amjad Hossain is passing busy hours holding press conferences and meetings as a 14-party nominee in Rajshahi-3 (Bagmara and Mohonpur upazilas).

But he is witnessing desires of businessman Enamul Haque and central Vice President of Sechchhasebak League Dr PM Shafiqul Islam, also associate professor of Bangla department at Rajshahi University.

Enamul exchanged greetings with people pasting posters and attending social gatherings while Shafiqul in a press conference yesterday announced that he would stand in the election.

Jatiya Party's Abu Taleb is also campaigning for the same seat.

BNP's Abu Hena is still absent in the areas and the party men believe Hena would join the election.

District AL President Tajul Islam M Faruk is likely to vie for Rajshahi-4 (Puthia and Durgapur upazilas) constituency and is enjoying an advance position gathering maximum number of AL leaders and activists at his meetings.

Nadim Mostafa, former BNP lawmaker from the same seat, is evading arrest following his conviction in a terrorism case, but his family members are electioneering for him.

Local people said new faces like Nazrul Islam and Mollah Abdul Wahed would come up in absence of Nadim.

Maximum number of probable candidates is electioneering in Rajshahi-5 constituency (Bagha and Charghat upazilas). Charghat AL General Secretary Raihanul Haque, Bagha AL General Secretary Akkas Ali, AL leaders Layeb Uddin Lavlu and Abdus Samad and industrialists Shahrier Alam and Bazlur Rahman are also hopeful to get a ticket.

District BNP President Azizur Rahman told newsmen that he would vie for the parliamentary seat while former Charghat BNP president Abu Sayeed Chand and former Bagha BNP president Zahangir Hossain, among several BNP leaders, expressed their desires for the fray.

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