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All eyes on celebrity candidates

UNB . Dhaka
06 Jan 2024 21:13:48 | Update: 06 Jan 2024 21:14:00
All eyes on celebrity candidates
— Courtesy Photo

The 12th parliamentary election of the country is all set to take place today. Although being a Member of Parliament is nothing new from the entertainment and sports sectors, a number of celebrities have entered the race this time around as candidates.

While some of them are independent candidates vying for votes, others are party nominations, courtesy of the ruling Awami League. These candidates stepped outside the box and worked day and night, knocking on people’s doors for the votes.

On the eve of the vote an analysis from observation of the last few days indicates that popular actor Ferdous Ahmed in Dhaka-10 constituency, former Bangladesh cricket team captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in Narail-2 and the current National cricket team captain Shakib Al Hasan in Magura-1 are the top most popular candidates in their respective seats with Awami League’s ‘Nouka’ (boat) symbol, without strong competition against them.

The rest of the celebrity candidates, including veteran thespian and former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor from Nilphamari-2 seat and singer Momtaz Begum in Manikganj-2 seat f may have to face a tough fight even after receiving the nomination of Awami League.

Magazine show ‘Ittyadi’-famed popular singer-musician Nakul Kumar Biswas is contesting from the Krishak Sramik Janata League in Barisal-2, Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) candidate and popular singer Doli Sayontoni is contesting from Pabna-2, and Dhallywood actress Mahiya Mahi is contesting as the independent candidate for Rajshahi-1 after getting refused nomination from Awami League.

One of the key constituencies in the capital, Dhaka-10, is home to candidates from five parties, including the Awami League. However, the others are not very visible in the race, with the exception of Ferdous, the debutant superstar candidate from Awami League. Majority of the voters in the area think Ferdous will have a clean sweep in this seat.

Former Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor is fightingt for the fifth time as Awami League candidate in Nilphamari-2 (Sadar) constituency. In the last four elections, he had faced challenge from the candidates from the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh which had a strong presence in that area. However, Noor has established himself as a greatly admired candidate in this area.

His main rival this time is the independent candidate, brave freedom fighter Zainal Abedin, alongside the other candidates including district Jatiya Party Vice President and District Motor Malik Group President Shahjahan Chowdhury, and Bangladesh Congress candidate Morchalin Islam. The fight for this particular constituency will be very competitive this time, according to the locals.

Folk singer Momtaz Begum won the Awami League nomination for the Manikganj-2 constituency for the third time. However, this time she has to face strong challenges from a total of ten candidates for this seat. Independent candidates including Dewan Shafiul Arefin Tutul, former national footballer of Bangladesh and the former Youth and Sports Affairs Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League; former district Awami League treasurer Dewan Zahid Ahmed Tulu, and Awami Secha Sebok League leader Sahabuddin Ahmed Chanchal are strong candidates alongside Momotaz in this seat.

Popular actress Mahiya Mahi, who sought Awami League’s nomination from Chapainawabganj-2, is contesting as an independent candidate in Rajshahi-1 seat after refused nomination from the ruling party. Eleven individuals are running for this Rajshahi seat, including actress Mahiya Mahi (Truck), the current lawmaker Omar Farooq Chowdhury (Boat), and three major independent candidates - Shahnewaz Ayesha Akhtar (Balloon), Md Golam Rabbani (scissors), and Md Akhtaruzzaman (Eagle).

Other candidates from the participating parties in this constituency are Nurunnessa (Mango) of the National People’s Party, Shamsuddin (Plough) of the Jatiya Party, Jamal Khan (Golden Scale) of the Trinamool BNP, Bashir Ahmed (Stick) of the Bangladesh Cultural Liberation Party, and Al Samad (Television) of the Bangladesh Nationalist Front and Bangladesh Nationalist Movement - BNM.

Popular singer Doli Sayontoni, BNM’s candidate for Pabna-2 seat, has been very active throughout her campaign. She has roamed around the corners and asked for votes while singing songs upon the request from the voters. Although there are eight candidates against her in this constituency, she expressed her expectation to the media regarding her win tomorrow.

Another popular singer Nakul Kumar Biswas has been a candidate from Krishak Sramik Janata League in Barisal-2 seat with the ‘Gamchha’ (towel) symbol. Although a debutant candidate, he has provided various assurances to the voters. That being said, he has to fight against Bangladesh Workers Party President, the Awami League supported candidate Rashed Khan Menon and Faiyazul Haque, grandson of Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque.

Among the celebrity candidates from sports, former national cricket team captain Mashrafe Bin Mortuza is contesting on Awami League ticket for the second time in Narail-2 seat. Among the seven candidates against Mashrafe in this seat, independent candidate Syed Faizul Amir Litu, former Chairman of Lohagara Upazila Parishad and former General Secretary of Upazila Awami League, is a strong opponent for Mashrafee, but the ‘Narail Express’ is still expected to take the seat due to his popularity among the voters.

The current National cricket team captain and world’s best all-rounder cricketer Shakib Al Hasan is competing against four other contenders for the parliamentary seat of Magura -1. The candidates are Md Sirajus Sayefin of the Jatiya Party, KM Motasim Billah of the Bangladesh Nationalist Front, Sanjay Kumar Roy of the Trinamool BNP, and Kazi Rejaul Hossain of the Bangladesh Congress. According to locals Shakib will not likely face any serious competition from any of these candidates.

The star contesters have surely added much colour and excitement to today’s election.