Nomination aspirants of both major parties are busy with their respective campaigns
With young leaders running strong campaigns alongside seasoned veterans, the race for nominations in Netrakona 1 constituency has heated up with only a couple of months remaining until the 11th national election.
Local voters are eagerly awaiting the selection of candidates, and seem to believe that the involvement of fresh young candidates will be a bigger factor than the continued presence of those more experienced.
For the Awami League, Chhabi Biswas is aiming to defend the seat he won in 2014 in Netrakona 1, a scenic constituency which is home to a large indigenous population spread across Spanning Durgapur and Kalmakanda upazilas.
The incumbent MP is certain to face a strong field for the ruling party ticket, however.
AL challengers are expected to include Mustaque Ahmed Ruhi - the former lawmaker who ran him close last time out - and Shah Qutubuddin Talukder Ruyel, the son of multiple-term MP Jalal Uddin Talukder who commands the loyalty of field-level Awami League leaders of Durgapur upazila.
Some way behind the forerunners for the ruling party nomination are Central Awami League member and indigenous leader Raymond Areng, Netrakona district unit Awami League vice-president and freedom fighter Abdul Khaled Talukder, central Jubo League member Ershadur Rahman Mintu, and central Shechwashebak League member and Kalmakanda upazila chairman Fakhrul Islam Firoz.
Many youth leaders are also bidding for the AL nomination alongside the former and current members of parliament.
They include former student leader Ashish Ranjan Rai Bhanu, renowned businessman Ataur Rahman Akhir, former London Jubo League publicity secretary Shah Mohsin, and the daughter of Jalal Uddin Talukder, Jannatul Ferdous Jhuma.
Until recently, these younger leaders had only been putting up posters to boost their campaign chances, but with the polls around the corner, they have begun to conduct rallies with the general public.
Almost all of these candidates are busy with their campaigns, with most trying to increase their rapport with the general public by putting up posters, banners, festoons, and conducting rallies and meetings.
Some are even using their own funds to make donations to local institutions or to help in local development projects.
Down but not out
The departure to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of former whip and a candidate in the 9th national election, Karim Abbasi, has left a void which the local unit of BNP will fill only if the election is held under a neutral government.
First in line appears to be the party’s central law affairs secretary, Kaiser Kamal, with a large percentage of field-level leaders hopeful for his candidature.
“If Khaleda Zia is released and the election takes place under a neutral government, I hope to receive my party’s nomination with which I can bring an improvement into the lives of the people in this constituency,” Kaiser Kamal said.
The other BNP strongman is former Jatiya Party MP and current district BNP vice-president, Golam Rabbani.
Among the new aspirants who have so far been mostly inactive are central Chhatra Dal vice-president Azmal Hossain Pilot, district Chhatra Dal former president Jahangir Alam Khan Masud, and former central Shechwashebak Dal assistant general secretary Prof Mazharul Islam Shohag.
Many of the would-be BNP candidates have been lying low due to the cases filed against them recently.
Meanwhile, Communist Party leader Dibalok Singh is the likely candidate for his party.