The ruling Awami League and opposition BNP are looking for mayoral candidates with clean image for the by-election to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), taking it as a challenge ahead of the next national election.
DNCC voters are likely to witness a battle of ballot between the ‘boat’ and ‘sheaf of paddy’ in the by-polls to be held by February next as per the provision of the local government law.
The government amended the local government law in 2015, paving the way for the registered political parties to nominate mayoral candidates in the polls using party symbols.
The Election Commission (EC) has already issued a gazette declaring the mayoral post of DNCC vacant from December 1 following the death of Mayor Annisul Huq.
As per law, the by-polls have to take place within 90 days after the mayoral post falls vacant.
Annisul had won the hearts of the people by outlining various pro-people development projects as part of his desire to turn Dhaka into a green and modern city.
The Awami League, BNP and other parties think they have to field Annisul Huq-like candidates in the DNCC by-polls to woo voters, keeping in mind the next national election.
BNP, which remains outside of the current 10th parliament due to its boycott of January 5, 2014 election held under then Awami League-led government, is expected to join the DNCC by-polls to test popularity of the AL.
Insiders say the AL high command will give nomination to a clean-image and popular figure as the city polls will have a strong impact on the next national election.
AL Presidium member Faruk Khan told the daily sun that their party is yet to start primary process for nominating a candidate for contesting the DNCC by-polls.
“We will sit for fanisaling the candidate after the announcement of the polls schedule,” he said.
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they are yet to discuss the matter in the party forum.
“We will take the decision after the announcement of the polls schedule,” he said.
Leaders of main opposition in Parliament Jatiya Party, left-leaning parties and newly formed Jukta Front are also yet to take a decision in this regard.
Insiders of the political parties said aspirants already started efforts to get nomination for the DNCC polls.
The ruling party may consider a family member of late Annisul Huq as the candidate for the DNCC polls.
Annisul’s wife Rubana Huq or his son Navidul Huq may be given AL ticket to contest the polls.
Apart from them, the names of some ruling party leaders, including Saber Hossain Chowdhury, AKM Rahmatullah and Alauddin Nasim have been in the air.
Against the AL candidate, BNP may consider Tabith Awal for the polls this time too as he had boycotted the last DNCC election going by the party decision.
The BNP asked its candidate to boycott the polls bringing allegation of vote rigging, capturing polling centres and other irregularities.
Besides, the names of Kamrul Islam, MA Qaiyum, Asaduzzaman Ripon, Rumin Farhana and Andalib Rahman Partha are also in the air.
JP’s Saifuddin Ahmed Milon, Bahauddin Ahmed Babul, left parties’ Zoaned Saki, Abdullah Kafi Ratan, Jukta Front’s Mahmudur Rahman Manna and Mahi B Chowdhury are also working to contest the polls.
JP presidium member Sunil Shuvo Roy told the daily sun that their party chairman has been in Singapore for treatment.
“We will take the decision in this regard after the return of the party chairman,” he said, adding that they will join the polls.
Jukta Front’s Manna and Workers Party of Bangladesh general secretary Saiful Huq said that they are yet to take decision in this regard.