Changes proposed by the Election Commission (EC) for the demarcation of Dhaka 2 and 3 seats mean that Food Minister Qamrul Islam and State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid Bipu will have to compete for votes.
The EC has suggested changes to Dhaka 2, 3, 7, 14, and 19 parliamentary seats.
Dhaka 2 constituency is comprised of Keraniganj’s Narikelbagh, Nalinda, Kolatia, parts of Hazratpur, Kamrangirchar, Hazaribagh thana’s Sundarganj union, and wards 55, 56 and 57 of the Dhaka South City Corporation.
Qamrul won the seat in the 2014 national election.
On the other hand, Keraniganj’s Jinjira, Shuvadda, Tegharia, and Konda make up the Dhaka 3 seat. Bipu won from the seat three consecutive times.
EC’s demarcation draft shows that Keraniganj has been brought under a single seat. Unions previously under Dhaka 3 have been added to Dhaka 2 while parts of Savar have been added to the former.
Many believe the changes will create a conflict between the two senior leaders.
Md Najim Uddin, a resident of Shuvadda union, said both Bipu and Qamrul were popular in their electoral areas. If the boundary is changed, then they will have to compete against each other for votes.
The locals gave mixed reactions about the EC’s demarcation proposal.
Liton Mahmud, a local voter, said that there was only one parliamentary seat before the last caretaker government. After 1/11, the seat was divided in two. But carving out two constituencies did not do any good for the locality, he said.
“If the seat is unified, the BNP will have issues too. Amanullah Aman and Goyeshwar Chandra are from the two constituencies,” Liton added.
Keraniganj resident Md Sohel Hossain said State Minister Bipu enjoyed mass support in the Dhaka 3 constituency. A change in boundary will result in the loss of a large number of votes.
Qamrul and Bipu were not happy with the EC’s proposal.
“This move will create conflicts within the party,” Qamrul said. “Such a decision only seven-eight months before the election is unacceptable … we will appeal against it.”
Dhaka 3 MP Bipu concurred. “This type of decision will create complexities,” he said. “We will file an appeal [against the decision] within April 1.”
The EC finalized the draft for demarcating 38 parliamentary seats in 16 districts on Wednesday.
EC Secretary Helal Uddin said anyone dissatisfied with the changes has to file an application seeking changes byApril 1. “After scrutinizing the applications [if any], a gazette of 300 parliamentary constituencies will be published by April 30,” he said.