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Cox's Bazar 4 constituency: Surplus of AL candidates against lone BNP candidate

  • Published at 07:04 am October 31st, 2018
web-Cox's Bazaar-4-constituency
Potential nominees of different parties from Cox's Bazaar 4 constituency Courtesy

The constituency currently holds a total of 26,44,06 voters

No 297 seat of the Parliament, the Cox's Bazar 4 constituency holds strategic importance in the upcoming 11th national polls, as it consists of the two upazilas that have become a home for almost a million Rohingya refugees- garnering international as well as local attention. 

Since the exodus of Rohingyas fleeing the brutality of the Myanmar army on August 25, nearly a million refugees have sought shelter in Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas of Cox's Bazar 4 constituency. 

The 10,000 square kilometres of this constituency is also well-known for its yaba smuggling and human trafficking through the 270km border it shares with Myanmar. It currently holds a total of 26,44,06 voters.

Such is the importance of this constituency that it is said whichever party wins this seat, gets to form the government. And with that thought, candidates from both ruling party the Awami League and BNP have been putting their best efforts into clinching a nomination. 

Surplus of Awami League candidates

The current MP of the constituency, Abdur Rahman Bodi, has gathered both popularity and controversy through his activities. 

Bodi features at the top of the Home Ministry's list due to his alleged involvement with yaba smuggling, human trafficking and helping the Rohingyas in Myanmar. However, his contribution towards helping the helpless, poverty-stricken population of the two upazilas has also made him popular among the locals.

Bodi started his political career by participating in the 1996 national election as an independent candidate. Afterwards, although denied a nomination in 2001, Bodi won the seat in the 2008 election by beating BNP candidate Shahjahan Chowdhury by a huge margin. 

In 2014, Bodi won a landslide victory by beating Jatiya Party candidate Taha Yahiya by nearly 1 lakh votes. 

However, this time, Awami League has several candidates on the field who are looking to grab the constituency for themselves. They have already started campaigning and lobbying with the central leaders to secure a nomination.

Aside from Bodi, former MP Prof Md Ali, Vice-President of Cox's Bazar Awami League Shah Alam Chowdhury, President of Ukhiya upazila Awami League Prof Hamidul Haque Chowdhury, Chairman of Holdiyapalong union parishad and younger brother of current Cabinet Secretary Prof Shah Alam, former President of Cox's Bazar Chhatra League Ali Ahmed, Acting Chairman of Ukhiya upazila parishad chairman Senuara Begum, General Secretary of Teknaf Awami League Nurul Bashar Chowdhury, President of the central committee of Tati League Shadhona Dasgupta, President of Cox's Bazar Jubo League Sohel Ahmed Bahadur and former freedom fighter Zafar Alam Chowdhury (retd), are also working to clinch a nomination.

BNP's only hope Shahjahan

On the contrary to the surplus of Awami League candidates, President of Cox's Bazaar BNP Shahjahan Chowdhury remains BNP's only hope for winning the seat.

Former three-times elected MP from Cox's Bazar 4 constituency, Shahjahan has been campaigning unobtrusively in his area to get support from both voters and grassroots level activists. 

Veteran politician Shahjahan has proven his capabilities of holding BNP's helm many times in the past- which is why BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, during her 2017 visit to the Rohingya camps, hinted at his nomination from the party. 

Grassroots level leaders and activists also agree whole-heartedly that there is no alternative to Shahjahan, strengthening BNP's foundation in Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas.

JaPa, Islami Andolan major factors

Father of Jatiya Party candidate in 2014 Taha Yahiya, industrialist Anisur Rahman Yahiya has been campaigning to get a nomination from his party.

Taha's absence on the election field this year has paved the way for his father Anisur to seek a nomination. Besides Anisur, central member of Jatiya Party Nurul Amin Sikder Bhuttu is also another hopeful candidate. 

According to Jatiya Party leaders and activists, the party is favouring Bhuttu for a nomination.

Islami Andolan Bangladesh is also hoping to win the constituency. The party's surprising wins in the general elections thus far have made them a strong contestant against the other parties. 

Although yet to be declared officially, General Secretary of Cox's Bazar Islami Andolan Mawlana Md Shoaib has been chosen as the party's candidate. With that in mind, Shoaib has already started campaigning activities to secure a win.

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