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Eyes on major contests among key heavyweights

Hamimur Rahman Waliullah
06 Jan 2024 21:39:22 | Update: 06 Jan 2024 21:39:22
Eyes on major contests among key heavyweights
Security personnel patrol a street lined with election posters on the eve of Bangladesh's general elections in Dhaka on January 6, 2024 — AFP Photo

People of Bangladesh are voting Sunday to elect a new government through the 12th Jatiya Sangsad Election, amid a boycott by the BNP and like-minded political parties and their campaign to dissuade voters from participating.

Despite their boycott, there are at least 20-30 parliamentary seats that are facing uncertainty and warmth as heavyweight candidates from various parties are competing in these seats.

In some of these seats, the Jatiya Party (JaPa) is the main rival of the ruling Awami League and somewhere, independent candidates from AL and politically less-experienced young politicians have challenged the ruling party nominated aspirants.

There is tension among heavyweight candidates – nominated by AL – who are now MPs and ministers as well. The possibility of intense competition exists if the votes are cast correctly. Even with the symbol of the boat, the AL leaders are not certain of victory in those seats.

It is known that some heavyweight candidates — independents and from other parties — are working hard to ensure victory. Local AL leaders are also working on behalf of these candidates. However, it will be known on Sunday who can maintain their positions until the end.


In Faridpur-4 constituency, the focus, enthusiasm and centre of discussion among the people are revolving around boat’s Kazi Zafarullah and the eagle’s Mujibur Rahman Chowhdury, alias Nixon Chowdhury.

As the main battle will take place between these two heavyweights, candidates from other parties or alliances are hardly visible in the field. Nixon and Zafarullah are facing each other for the third time in the national elections in this seat. Nixon won in the 2014 and 2018 elections.

Today, voters will determine whether Nixon will secure a hat-trick victory or if Zafarullah will taste the victory at last by causing an upset.


In Sylhet-6, Trinamool BNP Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury is contesting with ‘golden fibre’, with AL candidate Nurul Islam Nahid (boat) and independent candidate Sarwar Hossain (eagle) as the two opposing forces.

Even though there is a boat symbol candidate in this constituency, a section of the local AL is supporting Shamsher in his campaign. However, locals have indicated that it will be challenging for Shamsher to secure a victory by beating the other two heavyweights.


In Gazipur-3 constituency, MP of 11th parliament Muhammad Iqbal Hossain Sabuj, also the general secretary of Gazipur district AL, is contesting as an independent candidate. His main rival is AL nominated Rumana Ali Tusi, who is now a parliamentarian from the reserved seats.

There have been reports of several incidents of violence during the election campaign in this constituency. Even, these two candidates have been served show-cause notices for alleged violations of the electoral code of conduct.


In Gazipur-5, the main contestants are former parliamentarian and freedom fighter Akhtaruzzaman, vying in the polls with truck as an independent candidate, and current MP and AL nominated aspirant Meher Afroz Chumki, who is in the fray with boat.

Chumki, a three-time MP, has much popularity in the area while Akhtaruzzaman has a bright role as the Gazipur Zilla Parishad chairman. Their popularity promises to deliver a close fight in this constituency today.


In Cox's Bazar-1 constituency, due to the cancellation of the nomination paper of AL candidate Salah Uddin Ahmed, Bangladesh Kalyan Party Chiarman Maj Gen (Retd) Syed Muhammad Ibrahim has secured a somewhat advantageous position.

In this constituency, the independent candidate is present MP Zafar Alam, who promises to compete fiercely in today’s vote.


In Pirojpur-2, although initially a candidate from the AL-led alliance, Anwar Hossain Manju of Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) chose to run with his party symbol, the bicycle, in previous elections. However, due to the current political dynamics, he has decided to run with boat this time.

With the withdrawal of AL candidate Kanailal Biswas from the race, Md Mohiuddin Moharaj, the joint secretary of Pirojpur AL, now presents a significant challenge to Manju.

Manju has consistently secured victory in previous elections. However, in the current election, he encounters a formidable challenge, primarily due to the revised constituency boundaries.


In Narayanganj-1 constituency, Trinamool BNP Secretary General and the party’s candidate Taimur Alam Khandaker is contesting against the current MP and minister Golam Dastagir Gazi.

Due to Golam Dastagir’s influential position in the area, Taimur’s victory is not considered easy. Both Taimur and Golam Dastagir may face strong opposition from independent candidate Shahjahan Bhuiyan.


In Kushtia-2 constituency, AL’s ally Hasanul Haq Inu from JaSaD expressed his joy as no candidate from the ruling party was nominated to contest here. However, despite initial optimism, Inu faced strong opposition from the local AL, which seemed to unite against him and lend support to an independent candidate.

Mirpur Upazila AL leader Kamarul Arefin is running for the seat as an independent candidate and is backed by the local AL leaders and activists.

In the last three national elections, a faction of the local AL has consistently opposed Inu. This time, the political landscape of the election has shifted as AL leaders were permitted to run as independent candidates.


Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon secured victory in the Dhaka-8 constituency in the last general polls with the AL's election symbol boat. Since AL has fielded its own candidate in this seat this time around, Menon shifted his focus to Barishal, where he at first sought nomination from Barishal-2 and Barishal-3 seats.

Later, AL gave him Barishal-2 to run for parliament this time around and withdrew its candidate former MP Talukdar Md Yunus.

Menon is facing the dual challenge of securing the support and votes of Yunus’ followers and beating AL leader and former MP Monirul Islam Badal, who is in the running as an independent candidate. Badal had emerged victorious in the ninth parliamentary elections in 2008.