The Awami League has begun its search for a ruling party candidate to contest the by-election for the post of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayor, necessitated by the recent death of Annisul Huq.
The LGRD Ministry announced the DNCC mayor post vacant on December 4, four days after Annisul died at Wellington Hospital in London following nearly three months of treatment.
For the first time, the DNCC election is going to be held under party banners.
Senior Awami League leaders are already discussing a number of possible candidates, and several of them said that this time the party wants a seasoned politician.
Annisul was an “outsider” to politics who was nevertheless swept into office on a landslide in the April 28, 2015 poll, which was the first held for the newly-created post.
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The ruling party leaders also said a party member who is “eligible, competent and has a clean image” might get the ticket.
Sources from the Awami League president's office told the Dhaka Tribune that after Annisul's death, leaders close to party chief Sheikh Hasina have started discussing the matter and several names for the mayoral post are coming up.
One reason that the party wants an insider is because the DNCC poll is going to be political for the first time, as opposed to previous elections where candidates could not directly represent political parties.
Two Presidium members and an organizing secretary of Awami League told the Dhaka Tribune that undoubtedly Annisul Huq was the most popular mayor in the history of Bangladesh, but his good work did not help Awami League as he was not a member of the party.
A senior leader from Dhaka City North unit of Awami League, who declined to be named, said that with national polls knocking at the doors it was important for the party to mobilize its members.
Also Read- The life and dreams of DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq
“Launching a mayor candidate from the party will be a key part of that,” he said.
Sources from Awami League said that Dhaka North unit AL President AKM Rahamatullah, its general secretary Sadek Khan, and MPs Sarah Begum Kabari, Kamal Ahmed Majumder and Saber Hossain Chowdhury, might seek the nomination for contesting the mayoral race.
Rumours had been flying in political circles that Annisul Huq’s wife, Rubana Huq, or his son, Navidul Huq, might stand in order to leverage the popular support enjoyed by the late mayor.
Rubana Huq, in a Facebook post on December 5, urged people not to spread rumours about her family suddenly being transformed into “aspiring politicians”.
Also Read- DNCC mayor post declared vacant
Awami League Presidium member Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan said the choice of the mayoral candidate depended solely on party president Sheikh Hasina.
Awami League Joint General Secretary Abdur Rahman said the party's central leaders would discuss the matter and that Sheikh Hasina would take the final decision.
“The final decision is on the party president, but personally I will bat for a party man this time as the mayor candidate,” he said.
Awami League’s Dhaka North city unit General Secretary Sadek Khan has expressed his interest to compete in the by-poll. “I was city councillor for three times and I have huge popularity among voters,” he said.
He added that he was willing to work for any party-nominated candidate.