After the Election Commission announced Khulna City Corporation (KCC) polls schedule, aspiring candidates of Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party have started jostling for nomination.
KCC polls will be held on May 15.
BNP finally decided to participate in the election and two aspiring candidates are competing to seek nomination.
But as there are too many candidates in the ruling Awami League the party will sit in an extended meeting on Monday evening to decide on the matter.
Jatiya Party has endorsed Mushfiqur Rahman as its mayoral candidate. But grassroots leaders are not happy with the endorsement since he is not a local resident.
Former mayor Talukder Abdul Khalek was the top list of mayoral candidates of Awami League but he was not keen to contest in the polls.
Several leaders of the party’s Khulna unit expressed their interest to be in the race for the candidacy.
The aspiring Awami League candidates are Awami League Khulna sadar thana unit President Md Saiful Islam, Jubo League Khulna metropolitan convener Sardar Anisur Rahman Poplu, Awami League Sonadanga thana unit President Siddiqur Rahman Bulu Biswas, Awami League Doulatpur thana unit President Syed Ali and Awami League leader of Khulna metropolitan unit Enayet Hossain.
Awami League’s Khulna metropolitan unit General Secretary Mizanur Rahman Mizan said an extended meeting will be held on Monday evening to decide on mayoral candidature.
“The meeting will hear the opinions of the aspiring candidates and observe the overall situation,” he said, adding that the party President Sheikh Hasina will make a final decision on the matter.
Awami League’s Khulna unit President and former mayor Talukder Abdul Khalek said: “This is the first time the party symbol will be used in the polls. So nobody will get the chance to oppose the party’s decision.”
Khalek said he is now concentrating on the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Awami League Khulna sadar thana unit’s President Saiful Islam said he would seek nomination from the party president to contest in the mayoral polls and is already working in field level to strengthen public relations.
Incumbent Khulna mayor and BNP Khulna metropolitan unit’s General Secretary Moniruzzaman Moni and Khulna district unit’s President SM Shafikul Alam Mona are aspiring for mayoral candidacies.
Mona, who withdrew nomination following the party decision in 2013 mayoral polls, is now well ahead with campaigns, but Moni is yet to start any campaign.
BNP Khulna metropolitan unit President Nazrul Islam Monju said the party’s central command will decide the candidacy.
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad announced SM Musfiqur Rahman, former central leader of Jatiyatabadi Swechhasebak Dal, as the mayoral candidate, soon after he joined the party.
However, local veteran party leaders were disappointed with the decision and some of them also left the party.
Jatiya Party Khulna metropolitan unit acting convener Syed Khairul Islam said he would soon speak to the central leaders on the matter.
Molla Showkat Hossain Babul, joint convener of Jatiya Party metropolitan unit, who is aspiring for mayoral candidacy, said: “Since Mushfique lives in Dhaka he has no interaction with locals. If anybody wants to contest in the mayoral polls they must have a strong connection with the place and the people.”
However, Mushfique said: “The party’s chairman has nominated me. I will come to Khulna this week.”
Apart from these candidates, Jatiya Party’s faction Jatiya Party-JP metropolitan unit General Secretary Kazi Masud Ahmed and Islami Andolan Bangladesh Khulna metropolitan unit President Maulana Muzammil Haque are also aspiring for nominations.
During the last KCC polls held in 2013, BNP-backed Oikyoboddho Nagorik Forum’s candidate Moniruzzaman Moni was elected as mayor, defeating Awami League backed Sammilito Nagorik Committee candidate Talukder Abdul Khalek.
This time the total number of voters is 489,377.