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Tangail 1 Constituency: BNP hoping to break Awami League stronghold

  • Published at 10:39 am October 15th, 2018
Tangail 1 nomination seekers
Clockwise: Abdur Razzak, Khandaker Anwarul Haque, Fakir Mahbub Anam Swapan, Muhammad Ali, Shamsunnahar Chapa, Mawlana Ashraf Ali, MA Samad, MA Hannan, Abu Sayeed Montu and Sarkar Shahid Collected

The two parties are increasing their communication with senior central leaders, grassroots-level leaders, and activists in their constituency

Tangail-1, a constituency renowned for its important role during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, has long been established as an Awami League stronghold.

While the ruling party is keen to maintain its grip on the constituency, the main opposition BNP is equally determined to lay down a marker by stealing the seat in the 11th national polls. 

With the competition hotting up, a large number of Awami League and BNP leaders have increased their communication with senior central leaders, grassroots-level leaders and activists in the hopes of clinching a nomination. 

Most of them are attending meetings, seminars, and social events, and promoting themselves on posters and banners.

In total, Tangail comprises eight constituencies spread across 12 upazilas, of which most are Awami League-dominated. 

Tangail-1 encompasses the Madhupur and Dhonbari upazilas and has been won six times in the past 10 national elections by Awami League. 

BNP has won the seat twice, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasad) once, and an independent candidate once. 

AL stronghold

Although Awami League candidate Mahendra Lal Barman lost his seat to Jasad candidate Abdus Sattar in the first national election held in 1973, the ruling party maintains a strong foundation in this particular constituency.

To this end, local AL leaders have been working towards overcoming internal conflicts in the party and securing a nomination for the incumbent MP, Dr Abdur Razzak.

The Awami League presidium member and former food minister has held this seat since 2001, and holds considerable influence in this constituency. 

"I am 100% certain that, just like the 10th election, the people of my region will vote for me and bring Awami League back to power," Dr Abdur Razzak told the Dhaka Tribune.

"They know the development work that we have been doing for the last 17 years will continue if Awami League stays in power.”

Razzak has recently increased his communication with the people of Madhupur and Dhonbari upazilas as part of his electoral activities ahead of the election, which is expected in December.  

“I am hopeful BNP and other parties will cooperate in holding a free, fair, and participatory election,” he said. 

Among those challenging Razzak for the ruling party nomination in Tangail-1 is his own sister, the Awami League Secretary of Central Education and Human Resources, Shamsunnahar Chapa. 

General Secretary of Madhupur upazila Awami League and upazila parishad Chairman Sarwar Alam Khan is another hopeful candidate. 

‘Free and fair election will bring BNP to power'

Although BNP candidate Fakir Mahbub Anam Swapan lost out to Abdur Razzak in the most recent two parliamentary elections, the party believes it can present a more united front this time. 

Party supporters believe that if a fair and participatory election is held, BNP has a chance to regain Tangail-1.

Central committee member Swapan – who is most likely to secure his party’s nomination – undertook a lot of development work when BNP was in power and has already started campaigning ahead of the 11th national polls.

"I had to go through a lot of hurdles working for the development of my people,” the former acting president of district BNP told the Dhaka Tribune. “However, I have still tried to maintain a transparent political career.” 

Swapan said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia knows him well. "I believe my party will nominate me. I also believe if a free and fair election is held, BNP will achieve their victory," he said.

Other BNP candidates in Tangail-1 are BNP central executive committee member and Supreme Court lawyer Adv Md Ali, General Secretary of Madhupur upazila BNP and three-time elected municipality mayor Shahidul Islam Sarkar Shahid, and Canadian expatriate Bhuiyan Mahbub Latif. 

Also in contention are freedom fighter and advisor to upazila BNP MA Samad, and the former Dhaka University student leader and former MP, Khandaker Anwarul Haque. 

Jatiya Party

For the Jatiya Party, the president of Madhupur upazila MA Hannan has been campaigning for his party’s nomination. 

Hannan told the Dhaka Tribune that the Madhupur Jatiya Party has reorganized itself in a much stronger manner under the direction of party chairman and former military ruler, HM Ershad.

"If I am nominated from my party, I will ensure the party's victory," he said.

Islami Andolon Bangladesh President of Madhupur upazila, Mawlana Ashraf Ali, will also run for election after being nominated by his party, sources said.

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