Awami League has primarily selected former BGMEA president Atiqul Islam as its mayoral candidate in the upcoming Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) by-polls, say sources from inside the ruling party.
However, the party is yet to make the formal announcement regarding the election, which is set to be held in the last week of February.
On Saturday, Awami League’s Presidium Member Abdul Matin Khasru told the Dhaka Tribune: “The party higher-ups are considering selecting Atiqul Islam as the DNCC mayoral candidate. But that is not confirmed as the Local Government Nomination Board will take the final decision.”
Mrinal Kranti Das, liberation war affairs secretary of the party, however, said they were done with primarily selecting the person who would receive Awami League’s nomination. “But we cannot disclose the name just yet.”
“Though we have selected a candidate primarily, we are also scrutinizing other possible candidates,” he said.
Another Awami League leader, a Central Working Committee member who asked not to be named, also told the Dhaka Tribune that Atiqul was still the front runner in the race to become their mayoral candidate.
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However, the leader added: “But Atiqul is not confirmed yet as we have few other eligible individuals who can receive our nomination. We are still scrutinizing to find out the most suitable candidate.”
The DNCC mayoral post was declared vacant from December 1, after mayor Annisul Huq died on November 30.
According to the law, the Election Commission, which has already said it is ready to do the job within given time, will have to hold the by-polls to elect a new mayor within 90 days.
Atiqul has already launched into an informal election campaign claiming he had gotten a green signal from Awami League’s high command, while posters in his support started appearing across Dhaka.
But after meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the Awami League chief, on December 31 for a second time, he said she did not confirm his nomination.
“I will contest in the DNCC by-polls if Awami League nominates me,” Atiqul told the Dhaka Tribune.