Gopalganj 3 constituency comprises the upazilas of Kotalipara upazila and Tungipara- the birthplace of PM Hasina’s father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will remain almost unchallenged among her own party and by the opposition in her home constituency of Gopalganj 3 at the upcoming parliamentary election, as she bids for a fourth term in office.
Gopalganj 3 constituency comprises the upazilas of Kotalipara upazila and Tungipara- the birthplace of PM Hasina’s father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Hasina has converted the backward region of Tungipara into a modern town. Until now, she has done various development works to change the socio-economic scenario of Tungipara and Kotalipara and give them a more developed look.
For all these reasons, the people of the two upazilas have been voting for Hasina ever since she stood from Gopalganj-3 in the national election in 1986.
However, the constituency shows little signs of electoral preparations ahead of the upcoming 11th national election; voters in this region support Hasina without the need for any campaigning activities.
A historic constituency
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was born in Tungipara. As a candidate of Jukto Front, Bangabandhu participated in the 1954 election from this constituency for the first and only time.
Bangabandhu beat his opponent, the then-Commerce Minister and Muslim League candidate Wahiduzzaman Thanda Mia, by a huge margin, and was later appointed as a minister in the Jukto Front government.
Ever since then, Gopalganj-3 has been under the control of the ruling party Awami League.
Again and again, the people of Tungipara-Kotalipara showed their heartfelt support towards Bangabandhu’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina, and voted for her at every national election.
Awami League stronghold
The Gopalganj-3 constituency acts as the core Awami League stronghold, with little to no competition from other parties.
Current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also born in Tungipara. She took leadership of Awami League in 1981, six years after escaping the assassination attempts on her family that killed everyone except Hasina and her sister, Rehana.
Never forgetting her roots, Hasina came back to her people in Tungipara-Kotalipara, and participated in the first national election from her constituency in 1986.
At that time, despite the autocratic regime, the people of Gopalganj voted for Hasina, and she won a seat in the parliament with a huge number of votes.
Hasina has won this constituency in the past six national elections. After three of those wins, she went on to be sworn in as prime minister.
Even though her visits to Tungipara became less frequent in the consecutive years due to her duties as the prime minister, or as the chief opposition leader, Hasina still keeps in touch with her people at all times.
With a view to establishing democracy, continuing the socio-economic development and working for the improvement of living standards of her people, Awami League President Hasina will be standing from Gopalganj-3 constituency in the upcoming election as well.
Sheikh Hasina’s representative in Gopalganj-3 constituency and central Awami League Secretary for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah said: “In Ayub Khan’s regime, discriminations in development were made against Bangbandhu’s own area, Tungipara and Kotalipara.
“These areas were also ignored by BNP. The lowlands of these upazilas did not have roads. The only means of transport were boats. People lived below the poverty line.
“After becoming the MP, Hasina concentrated on developing her area. Besides improving the road transportation system, she worked for the advancement of establishment of schools and colleges, hospitals, community clinics and electricity,” Abdullah said.
Hasina developed the socio-economic situation by creating employment opportunities, excavating canals, cultivating fish and implementing water development projects.
Little to no competition from other parties
There are almost no contestants from other political parties for Hasina’s constituency.
Almost 100% of the people in Tungipara-Kotalipara are Awami League supporters. Other candidates from BNP-Jamaat hardly have any political presence. All of them are conducting their campaigning secretly and carefully.
BNP candidate, Gopalganj district BNP Vice-President SM Jilani, contested against Hasina during the ninth general election. Rumours are Jilani will also clinch the BNP nomination in the upcoming election.
However, political analysts think the opposition will again have no grounds to establish themselves in the upcoming election. On the contrary, they believe votes for Hasina will increase.
Vice-President of district BNP SM Jilani said: “I have been working in the constituency for the last 15 years. Other than me, there are no other BNP candidates.
“In spite of the oppression from opposite leaders and activists, I have continued campaigning in the constituency. I was nominated by the party in the ninth election, and hope to get nomination this time as well.”
Jilani expressed hopes about getting a fair number of votes in the next national election.
Possible Jatiya Party candidates for the Gopalganj-3 constituency are Adv Shishir Chowdhury, Jaitya Party President Hafez Md Ujir Ahmed, and AZ Apu Shekhor.
Adv Shishir Chowdhury said: “Jatiya Party is now an organized political party. I was nominated once before, and I hope that by using my own personal image, I will get more votes in the coming election.”
Jaitya Party President in Tungipara upazila Hafez Md Ujir Ahmed has already started campaigning for his party in Tungipara.
He said: “I am the only candidate from Jatiya Party who has started active campaigning by going from door-to-door. I hope my party will nominate me.”
Gopalganj-3 constituency consists of five unions and one municipality under Tungipara upazila and 12 unions and one municipality under Kotalipara upazila.