Khokon is elected president and Shamol is the new general secretary
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, student wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has elected Fazlur Rahman Khokon as its president, and Iqbal Hossain Shamol as the general secretary.
The result of the sixth council was declared early Thursday.
Members of Chhatra Dal cast their votes at the residence of the party's standing committee member Mirza Abbas amid power cuts in Dhaka’s Shahjahanpur area to elect their new leaders after a long wait of 27 years.
Voting held amid power cuts
Council proceedings started around 8:40pm with the presence of 539 councilors of the student wing.
Voting was conducted using transparent ballot boxes, and a total of 481 votes were cast by 12am.
Khokon received 186 votes while his closest competitor Kazi Rawnakul Islam Srabon got 178 votes for the post of president.
For the post of general secretary, Shamol got 139 votes, while his closest contender Zakirul Islam Zakir bagged 78 votes.
The council was scheduled to be held at BNP's Naya Paltan office at 8pm on Wednesday, but power outage forced the high command of the party to shift the venue to Mirza Abbas's residence.
Several councilors said BNP acting chairperson Tarique Rahman joined the council through a video call using Skype, firstly in Naya Paltan, and then in Abbas’s house.
Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique, who is currently residing in London, joined the party members through video call during the ballot counting, and before the announcement of the results.
Although the council was scheduled to be held on September 14, a Dhaka court had issued a temporary injunction staying the national council two days before the schedule was announced for a second time.
The new leadership
Hailing from Bogra, the birthplace of party founder Major Ziaur Rahman, President Khokon completed his graduation from Dhaka University, and was a resident of the Zahurul Huq Hall.
He was admitted to the Sociology department in the academic year of 2003-2004.
Khokon passed his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam from RDA Laboratory School in Bogra on 2001.
Newly elected General Secretary, Iqbal Hossain Shamol is a native of Narsingdi district.
Shamol graduated from the Persian Language and Literature Department of Dhaka University, and was a resident of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall.
He enrolled in the 2004-2005 academic session at the university.
A council after 27 years
Chhatra Dal got its new leadership through the long-awaited sixth central council held after 27 years.
On June 3, BNP dissolved the Rajib-Akram committee by issuing a press release signed by its Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed.
On October 14, 2014, party Chairperson Khaleda Zia picked Chhatra Dal leader Rajib Ahsan as president, and Mohammad Akramul Hasan as general secretary of the 201-member committee, which was later extended to 736 members.
A total of 10 central committee leaders were nominated since the last council, which was held in 1992. In the fifth council, Rizvi and Ilias Ali were elected president and general secretary of Chhatra Dal, respectively.
Tarique instructed BNP leaders from London to arrange, and convene the council.
Claim of power cuts
Habibur Rashid Habib, executive member of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) also the Joint Secretary General of Dhaka City BNP, claimed the electricity cut during the central council of Chhatra Dal might have been intentional.
The power supply near BNP's Naya Paltan party office was interrupted for at least five times till 7pm on Wednesday. Electric supply was continued for 10-15 minutes each time, with load-shedding for 30 minutes to an hour long, claimed many councilors of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, and BNP leaders.
The power supply was again interrupted for one and a half hours, while the party top-brass shifted the council to the Capital's Shahjahanpur area in the residence of BNP leader Mirza Abbas around 7.30pm, claimed Habibur, also a close associate of BNP standing committee member Abbas.
Party leaders decided to commence the voting process at Mirza Abbas's home as it was well equipped with a back-up electric generator.
When the electricity authorities understood that they could not do anything in such a situation, they continued supplying electricity after 9pm, alleged party leaders. BNP associates, and Chhatra Dal leaders also connected with acting Chairperson of the party, Tarique Rahman via Skype, Habibur furthered.
He claimed: "It might be intentional and planned as Awami League-led government has done such activities earlier during important events. There is no interruption in electricity today (Thursday) at the party office."
DPDC says no power cut took place
The Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) authorities denied any load shedding in the two areas.
DPDC Chief Engineer (central zone) Md Aminul Islam said no incident of load shedding took place at Shahjahanpur on Wednesday.
“Our Rajarbagh control room (which covers areas including Shahjahanpur) confirmed me that there was no power outage,” he said.
Meanwhile, DPDC Executive Engineer (Ramna division) Md Mohsin Abdullah, too, brushed aside the allegation of intentional load shedding, saying: “No such thing (power outage) happened ever since I took charge nearly a year ago.”
The newspaper also talked to the duty officers of Ramna and Rajargah control rooms of the DPDC, but they said they were completely unaware of the matter as they were not at work during the reported power outage.
Md Jahangir Alam, executive engineer of DPDC’s Rajarbagh division, could not be reached for his comments despite repeated attempts.