Defeating the BNP and retaining the seat will be quite a task for the Awami League
The ruling Awami League will have to battle a dominant BNP to retain the Cox’s Bazar 3 constituency, considered to be the most important seat in the popular tourist district.
But it will not be an easy task. The Awami League won the seat in the 2014 election boycotted by the BNP which won the constituency in the 1996, 2001 and 2008 polls.
The seat, which covers the Sadar upazila and Ramu and has 414,036 voters, hosts various important government establishments and is the base of the district’s tourism sector.
Tough fight ahead for AL
Incumbent parliamentarian Shaimum Sarwar Kamal is seeking a re-election and is the likely pick for the party. He represented the Awami League in the 2001 and 2008 elections but was defeated on both occasions by BNP candidates.
Kamal won the last election uncontested after the BNP and its allies sat the polls out.
This time though, the BNP has decided to participate in the December 30 election, which will make it hard for the ruling party candidate to retain the seat.
Awami League’s Mostak Ahmed Chowdhury won the seat in the 1991 election but the constituency went to the BNP in the three following polls by big margins. In 2008, the vote difference between BNP and Awami League candidates was nearly 40,000.
Since BNP’s key ally Jamaat-e-Islami lost its registration, it will likely lend support to its alliance member in the election. This could make the fight harder for the Awami League.
The AL candidates
Nomination seekers from the ruling party are confident that the people will elect the Awami League candidate.
Apart from Kamal, Awami League’s district unit General Secretary Mujibur Rahman, Joint Secretary Mahbubul Haq Mukul, Organizing Secretary Naznin Sarwar Kaberi, Cox’s Bazar Development Authority Chairman Lt Col (retd) Forkan Ahmed, Mohila Awami League leader Kaniz Fatema Ahmed, Awami League’s municipal unit acting President Nojibul Islam, and incumbent President of Chhatra League’s Cox’s Bazar unit Ishtiaq Ahmed Joy are seeking nomination from the party.
Awami League’s Cox’s Bazar unit President Sirajul Mostofa said the government has done a lot for the district.
“No other government did so much for Cox’s Bazar since independence. The people will vote for us to continue the development,” he said.
Lone candidate for BNP
The BNP will likely keep faith in Lutfur Rahman Kajal, who won the 2008 polls.
BNP’s district unit President Shahjahan Chowdhury said Kajal is so far the only candidate from the party for the constituency.
“We are sure to win if the voting is free and fair,” Shahjahan said.