Analysts and election observers say Gazipur is the one last chance for the EC to regain trust of people by administering a peaceful and fair election
For both major parties – ruling party Awami League (AL) and out of parliament opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – the Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) election due to be held tomorrow is an important factor.
The city corporation is geographically closest to Dhaka, and there are factors associated with industrialization and economy because of its high density of factories, making it quite important for both parties.
The election also follows the Khulna City Corporation election, first of the city polls held just before the upcoming national polls scheduled for the end of this year. Both the ruling party, which won the election, and the EC have called it a free and fair poll.
But BNP has denounced the election, calling it full of irregularities.
Analysts and election observers say Gazipur is the one last chance for the EC to regain trust of people by administering a peaceful and fair election.
Jahangirnagar University (JU) anthropology professor Dr Manosh Chowdhury and Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder pointed out that Gazipur’s rapid economic growth, status as one of the major industrial areas after Chittagong, its development and the population pattern made it important.
“Gazipur is strategically important like Narayanganj. With a continuous wave of migrants, Gazipur has an ever-growing population because it is an important industrial area and offers economic opportunity,” said Prof Manosh Chowdhury.
“On the other hand, both political parties are tense about transparency in the Gazipur poll, and as it is near the capital, it is important for electoral democracy as well,” the professor added.
Gazipur is about 30km from Dhaka city. Most of its 3.4 million inhabitants are migrants from around the country. There are around 1.1 million voters in Gazipur city.
Among them about 400,000 are factory workers, who may act as a key factor in the polls.
Shujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumder called Gazipur a “mini Bangladesh.”
“Gazipur has a diverse population from every corner of the country. However, a good number of people every day come to Dhaka from Gazipur for work,” said Badiul.
“The urban and industrial area of Gazipur has a lot of money so the elected offices are very lucrative there,” he added.
Veteran journalist Afsan Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that the Gazipur election is an test for the EC.
“In Khulna, the EC failed to conduct a fair election. So the Gazipur election is a priority for the Election Commission to establish their role with a fair and transparent election,” he said.
Badiul also emphasized the need for credibility of the EC.
“The credibility that the EC gained after Rangpur election is almost gone after the Khulna election,” he said.
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has also termed it as an ‘acid test’ for both the government and the Election Commission (EC).
BNP’s standing committee member Moudud Ahmed has said the party’s final decision over participating in the three upcoming city polls would depend on Gazipur city corporation election.
After visiting Gazipur city last week, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda expressed his satisfaction over the law and order scenario ahead of the election.
The CEC also warned that if the election is not fair, the persons responsible will be brought to justice.