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Khulna city polls: Khaleque’s clean image, party unity propel AL to victory

  • Published at 10:43 pm May 16th, 2018
Talukdar Abdul Khaleque
Flanked by supporters, Awami League-backed mayoral candidate Talukdar Abdul Khaleque, wearing a garland around his neck, shows the victory sign after winning the Khulna City Corporation election on Tuesday Mehedi Hasan

A well-known personality in Khulna, Khaleque is widely admired for his dedication and clean political image

Talukder Abdul Khaleque’s reputation and party unity acted as catalysts for the ruling Awami League’s victory in the Khulna City Corporation election, according to Awami League leaders.

The Awami League candidate bagged 1,74,851 votes at 286 of the total 289 polling centres while his closest rival BNP-blessed Nazrul Islam Monju got 1,09,251 votes. Voting at the remaining three stations was suspended due to sporadic irregularities.  

After a post-election review, Awami League leaders came to the conclusion that their candidate won the polls with a big margin due mainly to unity among local leaders and activists of the party. 

In the 2013 election, Khaleque suffered a defeat to then BNP candidate Moniruzzaman Moni, as the Khulna unit of Awami League had been divided into various factions, most of which worked against party-nominated candidate Khaleque.    

“I lost the 2013 polls because of lack of unity among our party members. This time I did not even want to seek nomination from the party fearing internal conflicts,” Khaleque had said while launching his campaigns for this year’s election.  

Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked him to contest the polls and ordered all of her party members in Khulna to work in tandem to ensure Awami League’s victory, he added. 

Complying with the party chief’s directives, all leaders and activists in Khulna started working together for the boat [Awami League’s electoral symbol], which propelled the party to victory in the polls, Sheikh Harunur Rashid, president of the Khulna district unit of Awami League, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. 

Despite Khulna being a stronghold of the BNP, Awami League won the election with a big margin, which proved that if leaders and activists of the party work together and maintain amicable ties among themselves, no party will be able to defeat Awami League in any elections, leaders of the party believe. 

Khaleque, too, attributed his victory to unity and hard work of leaders and activists of Awami League in Khulna and expressed his gratitude to them for their support and hard work.

Khaleque’s clean image plays a big role

A well-known personality in Khulna, Khaleque is widely admired for his dedication and clean political image. 

After winning in the 2008 polls to the city corporation, Khaleque carried out massive development work and transformed the metropolis into a modern one.

During his first stint as mayor of Khulna, he constructed roads, resolved the protracted waterlogging crisis, and branded Khulna as a clean city, which helped him woo young and swinging voters in his favour in this year’s election.

"Talukder Abdul Khaleque is a very popular personality here in Khulna. Young voters like him very much for his clean image, dedication and integrity. People voted for boat, because they want development of the city," said Mizanur Rahman, general secretary of the Khulna city chapter of Awami League.

SM Kamal, an executive committee member of the party and chief coordinator of Khaleque's election campaigns, said: "Talukder Abdul Khaleque is an asset for Awami League. His victory in the mayoral election will greatly help our party win the 11th parliamentary election, due in December, and continue development initiatives taken by our prime minister for people in Khulna.”

Reasons behind BNP’s defeat

Fear of being arrested and a lack of unity and coordination among BNP leaders and activists caused Monju to lose the electoral battle.

The other factors that contributed to his crushing defeat include failed attempts to quell internal feuds, harassment of BNP activists by law enforcement agencies, lack of visible development initiatives during the tenure of outgoing BNP mayor Moniruzzaman, failure to mobilize popular support in favour of Monju, and involvement of Jamaat leaders in Monju’s campaigns.