A faction of the local Awami League leaders has become united against incumbent lawmaker BM Mozammel Haque
Electioneering is in full swing at Shariatpur 1 constituency as the 11th general election is right around the corner. At least six Awami League aspirants are seeking nomination from their party; in contrast, only one prospective candidate is seeking BNP’s nomination.
The Awami League has been dominating this constituency since 1991, but presently this unit of the ruling party is suffering from intense internal dispute.
A faction of the local Awami League leaders has become united against incumbent lawmaker BM Mozammel Haque.
Shariatpur 1 constituency is comprised of Sadar and Zajira upazilas. The former upazila has 11 unions and one municipality, while the latter has 12 unions and one municipality. There are 295,323 voters in these two upazilas.
Following the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, this constituency has mostly been dominated by candidates backed by the Awami League.
Awami League candidate BM Mozammel Haque won in this constituency both in 2008 and 2014 general elections.
The Dhaka Tribune has learned that senior BNP leaders of this region are considering three-time lawmaker Sarder AKM Nasir Uddin as the only viable candidate to contest in the upcoming 11th general election.
However, there are at least six aspirants seeking nomination from the Awami League.
They are: incumbent Shariatpur 1 lawmaker and Awami League’s central Organizing Secretary BM Mozammel Haque, Executive Member Iqbal Hossain Opu, former lawmaker Master Mujibar Rahman, Zajira Upazila Parishad Chairman Mobarak Hossain Shikder, Zajira Upazila Parishad Chairman Mobarak Ali Shikder, Sadar Upazila Parishad Chairman Abul Hashem and Shariatpur Municipality Mayor Rafiqul Islam.
There are speculations that the true battle for supremacy will take place between Mozammel and Opu.
A long-time leader and activist of the Awami League, Mozammel however is facing allegations of being involved in numerous irregularities from other ruling leaders.
The incumbent lawmaker is also being accused of backing those with anti-liberation sentiments, criminals and carrying out extortion.
Some ruling party leaders complained that Mozammel has made the local committee with members that harbour anti-ruling party sentiment.
However, Mozammel has firmly denied the allegations against him, saying he has discharged his duties with honesty and sincerity.
“If I am nominated by the Awami League for Shariatpur 1 constituency, I will win by landslide through the people’s support,” he added.
Iqbal Hossain Opu served as a veteran senior leader of the Chhatra League, the ruling party’s student body. He is presently serving as the central Executive Committee member of Awami League.
Opu has garnered support from a significantly large faction of the local Awami League, and is optimistic about getting nomination from the ruling party.
BNP aspirant Sarder AKM Nasir Uddin has an illustrious political career. A freedom fighter, Nasir Uddin had a history of serving the Awami League as a leader, but he later left the party and joined another party.
Nasir joined the BNP in 1979, and was elected lawmaker of Shariatpur 1 the same year. He later joined Jatiya Party led by HM Ershad in 1986. After the fall of Ershad government, Nasir returned to BNP.
He has served multiple terms as Union Parishad chairman and lawmaker of Shariatpur 1 over the course of past few decades.
Currently serving as the district unit BNP general secretary for the fourth term, Nasir is optimistic that the people of this constituency will elect him if a free and fair election is being organized.
On the other hand, district JSD President SM Abdul Malek and Jatiya Party President Advocate Masudur Rahman have told the Dhaka Tribune, they will participate in the upcoming election if nominated by their respective parties.