Earlier in the day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader had said that they were considering supporting the JaPa candidate in the Rangpur 3 by-polls
Awami League’s aspirant in the Rangpur 3 by-election Rezaul Karim Razu has withdrawn his candidature in line with his party chief’s directive, which effectively has led to the ruling party throwing its support behind the Jatiya Party (JaPa) aspirant.
However, the leaders and activists of the local units of Awami League and its affiliate organizations are not happy about the party top brass’ decision, and they showed it by demonstrating and blockading streets in Rangpur city.
The constituency, which fell vacant after the death of JaPa founder HM Ershad in July, is scheduled to go to polls on October 5.
Razu filed his application to pull out of the race to the Returning Officer GM Shahtab Uddin around 5pm on Monday, which was the last day to withdraw candidature, amidst on the spot objections from party men.
He told reporters that he withdrew his bid following party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s instruction.
“The prime minister had asked me to withdraw my candidature when I met her recently, against the backdrop of the current national political scenario,” said the general secretary of the ruling party’s Rangpur district unit.
“I’m only following the party’s wishes,” he added while breaking down in tears.
Earlier in the day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader had said that they were considering supporting the JaPa candidate in the Rangpur 3 by-polls.
"We are thinking about this. There is a possibility that we may share the seat with Jatiya Party," he told reporters after a meeting at Motijheel, Dhaka on Monday afternoon.
With Razu’s withdrawal, six candidates are now left to contest the by-polls. They are — JaPa’s Rahgir Al Mahi Saad Ershad, BNP’s Rita Rahman, independent Hossain Mokbul Shahriar Asif, National People Party’s Shafiul Alam, Gano Front’s Muhammad Shahidullah, and Khelafat Majlish’s Tauhidur Rahman Mandal Raju.
The returning officer said the electoral symbols will be allotted to the candidates on Tuesday.
The Election Commission plans to use electronic voting machines across the constituency for balloting. A total of 442,072 people are scheduled to exercise their franchise.
BHBCUC demands rescheduling
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) has threatened to boycott the by-polls if the Election Commission does not reschedule it from October 5, which coincides with the Durga Puja festival.
This year, the second day of the Durga Puja, also known as Moha Soptomi, will be celebrated on October 5.
The council also submitted a memorandum to the chief election commissioner yesterday, asking to hold the election after October 8.
“We asked them to fix any day after October 8 for the voting. If that doesn’t happen, we will have nothing to do but boycott the election,” BHBCUC General Secretary Rana Dasgupta told Dhaka Tribune.
He said: “We requested them to defer it considering people’s religious sentiment, and to maintain the law and order situation."
Additional reporting by Fazlur Rahman Raju and Abdullah Alif