Awami League and BNP looking to extend family dynasties in first PM’s home seat
Gazipur 4 may comprise only one upazila, but it ranks among the more noteworthy constituencies in the annals of Bangladeshi history.
That is because Kapasia upazila was home to the country’s first prime minister, Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad, who was born in Dardaria in 1925.
In the first parliamentary election in 1973, Tajuddin won the Gazipur 4 seat, beating Capt Sultan Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD).
Since Tajuddin’s assassination in November 1975, this seat has mostly been held for the Awami League by his family members, with first his son and then his daughter - the incumbent MP Simin Hossain - extending his legacy.
Although the Awami League is still well established at the grassroots level, an internal feud with Krishok League has surfaced, raising tensions inside the party.
The position of the main opposition BNP in the area has also been a little unstable since the death two years ago of its leader and standing committee member, Brig Gen (retd) ASM Hannan Shah.
Hannan Shah took the charge of the region’s central BNP after the 1991 general elections and while his son Shah Reazul Hannan has been trying to put everything in order, he was arrested at a recent rally.
AL nomination seekers
Simin is vying to be nominated for the Gazipur 4 seat ahead of the 11th parliamentary election.
“I have been working for the last six years, so that residents from my constituency earn their living properly and live in peace,” Simin said. “The people of Kapasia are well informed about my development work.”
Grassroots activists, however, are not happy with Simin for staying silent on the feud in local Awami League. If the problems with Krishok League are not resolved, they feel the election will be negatively impacted.
According to locals, if Simin does not get the nomination, someone else from Tajuddin’s family will.
However, also in contention for the ruling party in Gazipur 4 are Alam Ahmad – who is also the nephew of Tajuddin – who has been regularly campaigning in the area under the banner of the Krishak League, and the Krishak League President Motahar Hossain Mollah.
Other nomination-seekers include Dr Shahidullah Shikder, the 14 party-alliance Gonotontro Party Presidium member and Bangladesh Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Pro VC.
If the ruling party is controlled by a family dynasty in Kapasia then so is BNP, with the local unit of the main opposition party expecting no candidates to stand from outside of Hannan Shah’s family.
“The organizational committee of the party is alright,” Upazila BNP President Khalilur Rahman said. “Only because of tons of cases against our activists, and fear of police harassment, they remain in hiding most of the time.”
Former BNP upazila president Jamal Uddin Ahmed has said he will also seek the nomination, and is still carrying a grudge from a missed opportunity at the ninth national polls.
“In 2008, I was given the nomination at first but later it was taken from me,” he said.
Kapasia Upazila Chairman and District BNP Vice-President Khandaker Azizur Rahman says he has always been there for the party’s activists in their time of crisis, and will also seek the nomination.
Other party candidates include JaPa upazila former president Shahabuddin Khan, Jatiya Chhatra Shomaj Central Executive Vice President Mosharraf Hossain Joy, Anowara Kabir, CPB Manbendro Deb, and Islami Shashontontro Andolon Bangladesh’s Nurul Islam Sarker.