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Internal conflict surfaces in AL strong hold

Published : 15 Apr 2023 10:10 PM

Kishoreganj-1 (Sadar and Hossainpur) constituency is now lively with election campaigns, especially by several nomination aspirants of the ruling Awami League (AL).

Competition among a few a heavyweights of the AL in the area may give advantage to their opponents in the next JatiyaSangsad (parliament) election, said political observers.  

On the other hand, local leaders and activists of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said they will work unitedly when the party nominates the ‘right candidate’ for the parliamentary seat. 

However, the party will go to polls only if the elections are held under a neutral caretaker government, they said.

Kishoreganj-1 constituency is known as an AL stronghold but ‘grouping’surfacedin the party’s local leadership centring the next JatiyaSangsad (JS) election, say political observers.

According to district election office sources, Kishoreganj- 3 constituency comprised of Sadar Upazila in the eight parliamentary elections held from 1973 to 2001. In 2008, before the 9th parliament elections, former Kishoreganj-1 (Pakundia-Hosenpur) constituency was abolished and seven parliamentary constituencies in the district were reconstituted into six constituencies.

Kishoreganj-1 constituency was formed by joining Hossainpur with Sadar Upazila. 

In the JS seat, the number of voters in 11 unions including the municipality in Sadar Upazila is 3,22,238 and the number of voters in six unions including the Hossainpurmunicipality is 1,48,825.

AL leader Syed Ashraful Islam, who won the parliamentary seat in 2018, died on January 3, 2019. After his death, the polling day for the by-election was set for February 28 but in absence of any other candidate in the seat, AL candidate Dr. SyedaZakia Noor Lipi was declared elected unopposed on February 13.

Several locals said the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) of this constituency has very little contact with the common people and people are dissatisfied due to lack of significant development work during the last four years. 

Meanwhile, the conflict between the groups led by MP ===Zakia Noor Lipi and agriculturist Masiur Rahman Humayun has now become public. 

Another group, led by with the former military secretary to the Prime Minister, Major General (retd) Safayetul Islam, is also active in electoral politics.

Safayetul Islam is son of martyr Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of the Mujibnagar government in 1971.

Known for providing various support to common people and Awami League leaders and activists in the area, he is conducting mass contacts as part of election campaign.

District BNP leaders and activists said there is no intra-party grouping among the party rank and file in Kishoreganj.The attempt to overcome party's old differences and conflicts are also visible.

Despite facing odd situations like cases and imprisonment, the party activists are trying to turn around. As part of the district conference, various upazila and municipal committee meetings have been held. 

According to multiple sources inside the BNP, if the BNP goes to the polls, former Dhaka divisional special judge Rezaul Karim Khan Chunnu, district BNP Senior Joint General Secretary Khaled SaifullahSohail, district BNP former general secretary Waliullah Rabbani, district BNP Organizing Secretary Israel Miah and former chairman of SadarUpazila Shariful Islam Sharif are nomination aspirants.

Ordinary voters say that if there is a chance to vote in this election and if there is a fair environment in the polling station, it is difficult to say who will be elected as member of parliament. 

Former Dhaka Divisional Special Judge Rezaul Karim Khan Chunnu said, “There is no alternative to BNP for the liberation of democracyand the people of Bangladesh. If the next elections are held under a fair and impartial caretaker government, BNP will participate in the elections. Then, if the party nominates me, I will contest.”

Major General (retd) Safayetul Islam, former military secretary of the Prime Minister, said, "I am and will be with the party leaders and workers and common people. If the party leader nominates me, I will contest. In the future, if the responsibility comes to me, I will resolve the conflict by sitting with everyone.”

Incumbent MPSyedaZakia Noor Lipi said, “The issue of nomination completely depends on the party leader Sheikh Hasina. We will all work for the candidate chosen by the leader.” 

AL leader Syed Ashraful Islam was elected unopposed from Kishoreganj-1 in the 11th parliament elections in 2018. He died on January 3, 2019. After his death, the polling day for the by-election was set for February 28. As there was no other candidate in the election, AL candidate SyedaZakia Noor Lipi was declared elected unopposed February 13.

Earlier Syed Ashraful Islam was elected unopposed in the 10th parliamentary elections in 2014 when BNP boycotted the general elections and withdrew their candidature.

In the 9th parliamentary elections of 2008, Syed Ashraful Islam got 1,72,065 votes BNP's Md Masood Hilali got 1,00,080 votes.

Syed Ashraful Islam got 82,061 votes in the 8th parliamentary elections in 2001 and BNP's MasudHelali got 72,483 votes.

Syed Ashraful Islam got 51,911 votes in the 7th parliamentary elections held in June 1996. BNP's MasudHelali got 39,591 votes.

BNP's MasudHelali was elected in the 6th parliamentary elections (in February 1996). However, the parliament was dissolved within a few months.

BNP's Ataur Rahman Khan gwas elected with 57,659 votes in the 5th parliamentary elections in1991. AL’sMdFazlur Rahman got 40,188 votes.