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Dhaka Tribune

Money makes not the man, unless he wants to be councilman

Update : 03 Apr 2015, 10:07 PM

Wealth overruled both experience and seniority in earning the Awami League’s blessings for the Dhaka Ward 11 councillor nomination, claimed the aspirants who failed to win their party’s endorsement.

Despite never having attended a political programme nor ever having led the party rank and file, one Awami League-backed hopeful for Dhaka ward councillor won his party’s backing solely on the strength of his wealth, other councillor hopefuls in his party alleged. 

A senior AL leader, asking not to be named, said the submission of nomination papers was handled in such a way that only one candidate, well-known to be a moneyed contender, would be the party’s sole candidate in the race, despite a ward-level decision to nominate several party leaders. 

Five names were put forward as candidates for councillor of Ward 11 and a decision to buy nomination papers for all five proposed nominees was taken at a meeting at the house of Dhaka city AL Treasurer Ismat Jamil Akon Lablu, Ward 11 AL leaders said.

The nominees proposed at the meeting were ward President Abdul Latif, Joint Secretary Hamidul Haque Shamim, Motijheel police station unit AL Joint Secretary Kamruzaman Babul, central AL subcommittee Joint Secretary Nurunabi Razu and Jubo League Dhaka city (South) Organising Secretary Khaled Mahmud Bhuya.

But although five sets of papers were collected for the five proposed nominees, AL Treasurer Lablu submitted only two nomination papers – for Shamim and Khaled –  to the returning office, according to a party leader who asked not to be named.

Jubo League Organising Secretary Khaled said at the meeting that his voter identity card was not from Ward 11 but from Ward 4, and that it would take a High Court ruling in his favour to allow him to contest the Ward 11 seat.

On Thursday, the High Court rejected a writ application filed by Khaled to submit his nomination for the Ward 11 councillor race.

A senior AL leader who holds a position on the Ward 11 committee told the Dhaka Tribune that Lablu was aware that Khaled would not be able to submit his nomination papers from Ward 11.

He claimed that in exchange for a large sum of money from Shamim, Lablu submitted only Khaled’s and Shamim’s nomination papers so that ultimately only Shamim’s nomination would stand.

Abdul Latif, the Ward 11 AL president, told the Dhaka Tribune the submission of nominations was a party decision.

“I collected the nomination papers but the party would not submit them and I do not want to explain the reason behind it, but I hope you, as a journalist, have a good idea about it,” Abdul Latif said.

Kamruzzaman Bablu told the Dhaka Tribune that Shamim’s nomination papers were submitted because he has the blessing of some top party leaders.

“Shamim, who never met with the people of the ward, never held meetings with them...I do not know how the party submitted nomination papers for such a candidate,” he said.

“Since I too belong to the party, I must support him. But I doubt he can pass the polls if a normal candidate stands against him,” Bablu said.

Asked what sort of blessing Shamim received, Bablu said: “I do not want to explain it, but everyone can understand how such blessings are collected.”

But Ismat Jamil Akon Lablu, the AL city treasurer, disputed the allegations against him, telling the Dhaka Tribune that the meeting participants had decided to nominate the single best candidate.

He claimed the nomination hopefuls decided among themselves who to field for the Ward 11 race and were responsible for filing their own papers.

Advocate Qamrul Islam, state minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, told the Dhaka Tribune that several Awami League aspirants collected nomination papers for the ward councillor contest, but only one candidate, approved by the party, would be nominated per ward.

He would not elaborate further about the Awami League’s candidate selection process. 

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