The 28-year-old is the first female mayoral candidate in the history of Barisal City election. She is campaigning under the slogan 'a corporation of people'
Manisha Chakraborty, a member secretary of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal’s Barisal district committee, is contesting as a mayoral candidate for the Barisal City Corporation election.
The 28-year-old is the first female mayoral candidate in the history of Barisal City election. She is campaigning under the slogan “a corporation of people.”
“Women are urging for votes using PA system in our campaign. The fundamentalists and the two major parties are criticizing us, but nothing can stop us,” Manisha said.
She said there was a vacuum in educated and young leadership in the city and women are facing some obstacles because of their low participation.
On why she chose left politics Manisha said: “Left politicians work for the people; they do not do so-called politics. And I did not come to politics to enjoy power. I have decided to work for the middle class and the ordinary people.”
Born in 1990 in Barisal, Manisha joined the student politics of ‘Socialist Students Front’ in 2009 when she was a 2nd year student of Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College.
After finishing MBBS in 2013 she passed the 34th BCS examination and also received appointment letter for the post of medical assistant officer. But she changed her mind and chose to pursue politics for the betterment of society.
She has been involved in the movement to demand rights for the working class for 10 years.
“We have been continuing movement for urban dwellers in issues like rising tax evasion, licensing of battery-operated rickshaws, recovery of occupied canals, resuming activities of BSCIC (Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation), introducing modern waste management and setting up health centers in densely populated areas. I faced torture and was imprisoned during these movements,” she said.
On whether she found it challenging to contest the election with the major parties, Manisha said: “I have been working in the field sector for the demand of working class. I was with them even when no major parties were there for them.”
She said about 50% of the total population in Barisal belongs to the working class and there are 30,000 young voters. “I am their representative, so I hope I win this election.”
On April 19, workers took out a procession in Barisal city protesting the release of battery-operated rickshaws. Manisha, who also joined the procession, was arrested by police. On April 26, she was released from prison on bail.
Earlier in December last year, the party decided that Manisha will contest the city polls as a mayoral candidate.
“Since then, we have distributed 200 clay banks to party activists, working class people to collect fund for the election campaign and we collected Tk1 lakh. We are running the election campaign with this fund. In the affidavit, I mentioned that I would spend only TK2.30 lakh.”
Manisha continued: “Election means the candidate’s money game. This is an exception in my case. In contrast, the workers are spending money for me, so I am liable to them. I will work for their betterment.
“Other candidates spend lakhs of money in election campaign, and turn the city corporation into a business to get back the money.”
The party activists said that they are campaigning voluntarily and the autorickshaw and easy bike drivers also do not charge any fare for the campaign.
“I am committed to the city dwellers in building a society free of exploitation and corruption, and a women and children friendly society.”
Manisha hoped people of the city will vote for her in the July 30 election.