BNP mayoral candidate Ariful Haque Chowdhury is set to face a tough challenge in the upcoming Sylhet City Corporation polls as he will be fighting the election also against his party rebel as well as another contender from the BNP’s key ally Jamaat-e-Islami.
The BNP yesterday expelled the rebel candidate, Sylhet City BNP General Secretary Badruzzaman Selim, for violating party discipline.
Meanwhile, all the mayoral candidates in the city corporation polls in Sylhet, Rajshahi and Barishal formally began their campaigns after the Election Commission distributed polls symbols among them yesterday. The elections are scheduled to be held on July 30.
In Sylhet, Awami League’s mayoral contender Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran got “boat” symbol while Arif received “sheaf of paddy”, Selim “bus” and Jamaat leader Ehsanul Mahbub Jubayer “table watch”. They spent busy hours wooing voters yesterday. Selim and Jubayer are independent candidates.
Although BNP leaders repeatedly said they would be able to ensure a single candidate under the party-led 20-party alliance for the polls, the BNP rebel as well as the Jamaat leader did not withdraw their candidacy.
In the previous city corporation polls in 2013, Arif had bagged 107,330 votes while his rival Kamran had gotten 72,173 votes. During that election, Arif was supported by all in the the BNP-led combine.
“All the party leaders are united and there is no one beside the rebel candidate. I am not concerned about others,” Arif said after offering prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal.
“I worked for the people when I was in office and I will continue to do that if I am elected again,” he said.
Selim, meanwhile, has expressed anger over his expulsion from the party. He, however, said the move was expected and he would vie for the mayor post at any cost.
“I have been involved with the BNP since its birth. The party did not take all my dedications into consideration while picking its candidate.
“During the 2013 elections, Arif had promised that he would work for me in the next election. But he has broken his promise,” he said.
Talking about the matter, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, a standing committee member of the BNP, told The Daily Star yesterday, “This is not an issue. The main thing is the election atmosphere. If the election is fair, our candidate will surely win”.
He also expressed hope that the Jamaat leader would ultimately withdraw his candidacy and support the BNP’s candidate.
Contacted, Jamaat’s Nayeb-e-Ameer Mia Golam Parwar said, “We also hope that the BNP will extend its support to our candidate”.
On the other hand, AL’s Kamran said, “I have served the city people for a long time and I want to serve them more. We are united, working to win the polls. We need the citizens’ support to turn Sylhet into an ideal city.”
The AL candidate in the Rajshahi polls, AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, began his campaign through the announcement of his election manifesto. He got the electoral symbol of “boat”.
At a press conference in the city, AL adviser Abdul Khaleque read out Liton’s 81-point election manifesto that talked about 14 sectors, including employment, education, health, environment, and communication.
Liton pledged that, if elected, he would ensure job for over one lakh people by working to providing gas connections to garment factories and tannery units, establishing a special economic zone in the city and reopening several closed factories.
The manifesto, however, ignored several issues, including occupation of footpath, and traffic jam.
“Development of the city depends on the mayor’s connections with the top tier of the government. I have those connections and I will be able to fulfill my pledges,” Liton said at the press conference.
BNP’s Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul offered prayers at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Makhdum (Rh) after he was allocated “sheaf of paddy” symbol.
Both Liton and Bulbul went to voters in different areas of the city and sought votes yesterday. Their posters were hanging in different places. The two candidates expressed their firm determination to seal victory in the polls.
Mujibor Rahman, returning officer of Barisal City Corporation election, distributed election symbols among the candidates yesterday.
After receiving the symbols, AL candidate Serniabat Sadik Abdulla, BNP-led 20-party candidate Mojibor Rahaman Sorwar and another candidate Obaydur Rahaman Mahabub campaigned in different points of the city.