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Awami League in a tricky situation with rebel candidates

  • Published at 11:41 pm January 29th, 2020
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File photo of Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, who is also the road transport and bridges minister of the incumbent government Dhaka Tribune

'There is no situation created which has hindered the city polls'

The Awami League (AL) has failed to tame its rebel councillor candidates contesting the Dhaka city polls scheduled for Saturday.

Although the ruling party's central leaders earlier said they would convince the rebel candidates to stay away from the election race, they have not succeeded in their mission.

According to party insiders, Awami League did not take a tough stance on the withdrawal of rebel candidates from the election race, as their focus was on the mayoral posts.

Seeking anonymity, an organising secretary of the ruling party told Dhaka Tribune that senior leaders--Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, the election coordinators for Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation respectively, did not take any initiative to remove rebel candidates from the race initially. And finally, it did not happen due to internal party politics. 

After a secretary level meeting on Tuesday, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader hinted at keeping rebel candidates in the race.

"There is no situation created which has hindered the city polls. So we cannot term them troublemakers," he said.

The minister also said there is no problem created by rebels in the party itself either.

But reported clashes between Awami League nominated candidates for the councillor posts and the rebels suggest a different scenario.

On Wednesday afternoon, supporters of Awami League councillor candidate Md Nasir and rebel candidate Jahidur Rahman Dulal engaged in a clash in front of DNCC mayoral candidate Atiqul Islam.

According to eyewitnesses and Awami League activists, Atiqul was holding a rally in the area as part of his electoral campaign, and the scuffle took place when the rally was about to end. At one point, some of the men also threw chairs at each other.

On Friday afternoon, the office of the ward 56 independent councillor aspirant was vandalised and torched, allegedly by the Awami League-backed candidate in the Borogram area of Kamrangirchar.  

Son of Haji Selim, Irfan Selim is a rebel candidate from DSCC’s ward 30. Another ousted Jubo League leader, AKM Mominul Huq Sayeed, better known as Casino Sayeed, is a rebel candidate from Dhaka South ward 9. It’s believed he has the patronage of a minister.

Anisur Rahman Nayem, general secretary of Dhaka city unit Awami Secchasebok League, is contesting as a counsellor candidate for ward 49, though he failed to get a party ticket. He is said to be very close to local MP and Presidium member Sahara Khatun. 

A similar scenario was prevailing in Mirpur, Dhaka. It's alleged that local MP Elias Mollah is backing three rebel councillor candidates--Taijul Islam Bappy for ward 6, Jewel Rana for ward 5, and Jihirul Islam Manik for ward 3. It is alleged that all of them have the blessings of Ismail Chowdhury Nikhil, general secretary of the Dhaka North unit of Jubo League. 

Moreover, no BNP candidate is contesting in ward no. 11. But, Monsur Ahmed, brother in law of local lawmaker Aslamul Haque Aslam, is running for the councillor post as an independent candidate.

DMP identifies some risky wards

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has identified some highly risky wards in both Dhaka South and North cities where several rebel candidates of the ruling Awami League are running for councillor posts.

The areas include Kamrangirchar, Mohammadpur, Rayerbazar, Chawk Bazar, Pallabi, and Badda.  

DMP (Crime) Additional Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy told Dhaka Tribune: "We have gathered information about each of the polling centres in the selected areas. Strengthened security measures have been taken to ensure a peaceful election."