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Dhaka Tribune

Bandarban constituency: AL pins hopes on veteran lawmaker, BNP rifts widen

According to sources, BNP is in a very delicate situation due an intense rivalry between the supporters of current president Maumyaching and former president Saching Pru Jerry

Update : 17 Oct 2018, 01:05 AM

Bandarban is known as an Awami League stronghold and the ruling party is determined to hold onto the seat – the 300th in parliament – at almost any cost in the upcoming national election. 

It seems certain that five-time MP Bir Bahadur U Shoi Shing will again be handed the AL nomination for the constituency of 240,650 registered voters.

"There is no dispute in the party: no one except Bir Bahadur will be nominated," Bandarban district Awami League Vice-President AKM Jahangir said.

And while the main opposition BNP is gearing up its challenge, it left the path clear for Bir Bahadur after boycotting the 2014 election and is now mired in internal conflicts as it tries to recover lost ground.

According to sources, BNP is in a very delicate situation due an intense rivalry between the supporters of current president Maumyaching and former president Saching Pru Jerry.

These two contested the party ticket for Bandarban at the 1996, 2001 and 2008  elections, with the eventual nominee losing the seat every time to Bir Bahadur.

The correspondent has learned that as the current BNP committee is comprised of Maumyaching’s supporters, he has a strong chance for getting the BNP nomination. 

Saching, however, could be nominated to revitalize the local unit of the party. The only certainty is that the internal conflict inside BNP will intensify as the election comes closer.

Bandarban district BNP General Secretary Jabed Reza told the Dhaka Tribune: "If BNP participates in the election, no matter who is nominated, we will work in unity. There will be no internal conflict."

Six in a row?

Bir Bahadur, the three-time former organizing secretary of central Awami League, became popular to the public after he spent more time in the field of politics, working on development in remote areas of the city and approaching the people genuinely.

Due to this popularity, Awami League candidate Bir Bahadur might win for the sixth time in the parliament. 

However, Bir Bahadur might face some competition if the suspended former district president Proshonno Kanti Tonchogya decides to participate in the Bandarban constituency.

The two suspended Awami League leaders Proshonno and Mujib made allegations against Bir Bahadur of breaking the party regulations to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 4.

Rift threatens AL

Political analysts believe Awami League could face difficulties in this constituency due to the opposition of their once political ally, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS). 

Jolly Mong Marma is a possible PCJSS candidate but if there are no nominations, the party will support any candidate which stands against the Awami League.

However, the rift between Awami League and JSS has been lessened by recent increased communication between the top leaders of the two parties. 

PCJSS Education and Cultural Secretary Jolly Mong Marma said: "There is nothing called an end in politics. Our distance with the Awami League has diminished considerably."

Even though Jamaat does not have many supporters in the district, it proved to be a tough opponent of the Awami League by backing other candidates in the past elections.

Jamaat would be unable to participate in the upcoming elections due to the cancellation of their registration; however they will support any BNP candidate.

From Jatiya Party (Ershad) and United People's Democratic Front (UPDF), Ke Shoi Aung Marma and Choton Kanti Tonchongya can be seen as candidates from the two parties respectively.

However, the Jatiya Party (Ershad) might support the Awami League candidate due to the political alliance of the two parties.

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