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Dhaka Tribune


Dedicated leaders, first-timers dominate AL nominations

  • 34 new faces out of 48 candidates
  • Press Club president, Army chief’s sister on the list
  • Celebrities, film stars fail to secure nomination  
Update : 16 Feb 2024, 10:36 AM

While finalizing the list of candidates for the reserved women’s seats in the 12th Parliament, the ruling Awami League prioritized career politicians and members of the party’s familiar leaders, mostly given the contributions of their fathers or relatives to the party and the Liberation War.

In the process, freedom fighters and new faces were also chosen. 

For instance, war heroine Ruma Roy Chowdhury, well known as Ruma Chakraborty, president of the Mohila Awami League’s Beanibazar Upazila unit, used to lead a straightforward life beside a local Kali temple where her late husband was a sebayet (custodian).

In 1971, despite being a ninth-grader, Ruma received military training on the Dhaka University premises and joined the Liberation War.

This time around, she got the party ticket for Sylhet from the Awami League.

She is among many whom Awami League President Sheikh Hasina picked for their years of service and dedication to the party and its affiliate organizations, the Mohila Awami League and the Jubo Mohila League.

The move came as the party on Wednesday announced 48 candidates for the reserved seats. Of them, 34 got nominations for the first time.

Seven reserved seat MPs from the 11th Parliament retained their candidacy this year too. And some MPs from the reserved seats of the previous two parliaments have been considered for the 12th Parliament.

Additionally, many female leaders, who were either deprived of the party ticket for the January 7 election or lost the polls, are now in the fray for the reserved seats. 

A few from various professions, including journalism, have also been picked. And one was endorsed as a candidate from the 14-party alliance.

As many as 1,549 female candidates, including showbiz stars, collected nomination forms from the Awami League. 

However, not a single celebrity secured a nomination. 

The ex-state ministers on the list

Already a three-time reserved seat MP, Fazilatunnesa Indira, who has also served as state minister for women and children affairs in the previous cabinet, has been picked for the fourth time. 

She will contest the election from Munshiganj.

Former state minister Tarana Halim, who was a popular small-screen actress in the 1990s, served as a lawmaker in the ninth and tenth parliaments. She will again join the election fray from Tangail.

Other key leaders

Reserved seat MP of the last parliament and Awami League central committee’s Finance and Planning Secretary Waseqa Ayesha Khan, Mohila Awami League General Secretary Shobnom Jahan Shila, Dhaka north city unit Mohila Awami League President Shahida Tarek Dipti, a former lawmaker from the ninth parliament, and Jubo Mohila League’s former president Nazma Akter got nominations.

Two more Freedom Fighters

Freedom Fighter and human rights activist Aroma Dutta, who was also a reserved seat MP in the 11th parliament, and another war heroine as well as a classmate of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Farida Khanom, are also contesting the election with the party ticket. 

Family ties

Nahid Ezhar Khan is the daughter of a valiant freedom fighter. She has retained her candidacy for the second time.

Aparajita Haque, daughter of a veteran Awami League leader from Tangail, got a nomination from the district.

Iqbal Bithar, a former Ward No. 24 councillor of Khulna City Corporation and former vice president of the Jubo League, was murdered in 2009. His wife, Runu Reza, has been picked for a reserved seat. 

Runu is the sister of Chief of Army Staff General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed.

Jubo Mohila League Vice President Koheli Quddus Mukti has been picked from Natore. Her late father was president of the Natore district unit of the Awami League and a lawmaker from Natore-4 several times.

Faridpur district unit Awami League Joint General Secretary Jharna Hasan got a nomination. Her late husband, Hasibul Hasan Lablu, was a popular labour leader and general secretary of the party’s district unit.

Awami League Central Working Committee Member Parvin Zaman Kolpona, daughter of a veteran Awami League leader, got a nomination from Jhenaidah.

Journalist Farida Yeasmin, the first elected general secretary and president of the National Press Club, has been picked. However, her husband, Naem Nizam, was denied an Awami League nomination from a Comilla constituency in the last general election.

Defeated, nomination-deprived ones 

Former state minister Begum Monnujan Sufian was denied a party ticket for the January 7 polls. However, she has been picked for a reserved seat.

The party’s International Affairs Secretary Shammi Ahmed was endorsed by the party for the 12th parliament election but lost candidacy due to dual citizenship issues. She is again contesting as an Awami League candidate for a reserved seat.

Awami League Agriculture Affairs Secretary Faridunnahar Laily, picked for the general election, had her candidacy replaced in favour of an alliance partner. She has been chosen for a reserved seat.

Awami League Central Working Committee Member Sanzida Khanom and former state minister Meher Afroz Chumki both participated in the 12th parliamentary election but were defeated by independent candidates of the Awami League. But both have been chosen for reserved seats.

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