The celebrated cricketer plans to run for office from Narail 2 constituency
Bangladesh national cricket team’s ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has collected the nomination form from the Awami League to contest from the Narail 2 constituency in the upcoming 11th general election, slated for December 23.
He picked up the papers from the ruling party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader atthe Awami League president’s political office in Dhanmondi, Dhakaaround 11:45am on Sunday.
Prior to that, he also met Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina at her official residence, Ganabhaban, and received her blessings.
On May 29, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal had said that Mashrafe and ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan would run for office in the polls.
However, a few days later, Quader said the two cricketers would not be involved in politics before the next ICC World Cup, slated for May 2019.
Shakib recently again expressed his interest in running as the Awami League candidate in Magura. But Hasina during a meeting on Saturday night advised him to continue playing cricket for now.
Mashrafe, fondly known as the “Narail Express” among fans, has been involved in social activities after retiring from the T20 format in April last year.
Last year,he also founded an organization called the “Narail Express Foundation” to carry out development work in the area.
Born on October 5, 1983 in Narail, Mashrafe is the highest ODI wicket-taker – 252wickets in 199 matches – forBangladesh.
He played his first international match on November 8, 2001 against Zimbabwe.
He has led the national team inall formats of cricket –Test, T20 and ODI,and is the most successful captain in the history of Bangladesh cricket.
The ruling party started selling nomination forms on Friday. Its arch political rival BNP will begin selling forms from Monday.
Locals elated by Mashrafe’s decision to contest
Meanwhile, locals in Narail on Sunday brought out celebratory processions after the news of Mashrafe buying nomination form from Awami League spread.
Reached for comment, Mashrafe’s father Golam Mortaza Swapan said that he, along with the people of Narail, hopedthat Mashrafe would continue playing cricket alongside participating in the election.
The cricketer’s mother Hamida Mortaza echoed her husband’s remarks and urged all to bless her son.
In the 10th general election, Workers Party of Bangladesh leader Sheikh Hafizur Rahman was elected MP from Narail 2 constituency by default after running with the ruling party’s electoral symbol “boat.”
Workers Party Naraildistrict unit’s Secretary Nazrul Islam said they were happy with the development.
“Our first choice would have been a leader of our own party. But if the 14-Party Alliance nominates Mashrafe to contest in the polls, weall will work for him with in every possible manner,” Nazrul said.
Local businessman Shafiqul Islam said Narail would see more development than the past if Mashrafe was elected MP. “We want Mashrafe as our MP.”
Saiful Alam, another businessman, said Mashrafe had always been a humanitarian when it came to the locals. “All of us are happy that he is going to run for office.”