Parties of the Grand Alliance are also seeking to contest in the election
There are several aspirants seeking the ruling party’s nomination in Barisal 2 constituency, including the incumbent MP and district Awami League secretary, Advocate Talukder Md Yunus.
He won the seat in 2014 when the main opposition BNP boycotted the polls over the government’s refusal to make way for a caretaker administration.
“I am hopeful Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will nominate me to contest this seat,” he said. “I will continue Bangabandhu’s legacy in Barisal.”
Talukdar Md Yunus said the Awami League is a large party with many leaders and activists, so it is only normal to have multiple nomination-seekers fighting to secure the party’s approval.
“I hope everyone will work together for the candidate chosen by the party’s high command,” he said.
It has not always been a straight race between the country’s two largest parties in Barisal 2, which has 301,197 registered voters spread across two municipalities and 17 unions of Ujirpur and Banaripara upazilas.
In the 1991 general polls, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon became an MP; while in the 1996 general election, Jatiya Party candidate Golam Faruque won.
Talukdar’s challengers for the ruling party ticket in Barisal 2 this time include the former MP Monirul Islam Moni, BCL Central Committee Acting President Shah Alam, and Fiazul Haque Raju, the grandson of Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haq.
Also in contention are Central Awami League leaders Habibur Rahman Khan and Sayeda Rubina Akter Mira, Banaripara upazila Chairman Golam Faruk, District Awami League Law Secretary Advocate and Banaripara municipality Mayor Subhash Chandra Shil, and Barisal Vhibag Uannayan Forum President Captain M Moazzem Hossain.
Grand Alliance partners also in frame
In a significant change from 2014, parties from the Awami League-led Grand Alliance also want to participate in the upcoming general elections for this constituency.
Workers Party's District President Nazrul Haque Nilu said that Central Juba Maitri Member Jahurul Islam Tutul has been selected as the candidate for Barisal 2 for the December 23 polls.
Furthermore, two groups of JSD, also a party of the Awami League-led grand alliance, want to contest the seat.
Their candidates are JSD Central Committee Joint General Secretary and Ujirpur upazila Parishad Abul Kalam Azad Badal, JSD International Affairs Secretary Advocate Anisuzzaman Anis, and Sajjad Hossain, the personal secretary of the information minister.
Additionally, former MP and student leader Golam Faruque Avi, who is in exile in Canada, is seeking the nomination of JSD (Manju).
BNP suffering from internal conflicts
Due to internal conflicts, Banaripara upazila BNP has two separate offices dictating party activity.
At the core of the dispute is S Sarfuddin Ahmed Santu, the president of a section of the upazila BNP and a Central Executive Committee member.
He lost the 2008 election to Awami League candidate Mohammad Monirul Islam Moni, but retains the support of the district BNP.
“Sarfuddin Ahmed Santu is the preferred candidate for the race, however, if the High Command decides to nominate someone else, then all of us will accept it and work for our candidate,” General Secretary of District (South) BNP Advocate Abul Kalam Shahin said.
The situation is expected to change if the BNP's central joint secretary general and another of its former MPs, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, seeks the nomination.
He won the seat for BNP in the 2001 election by defeating heavyweight Awami League candidate Abul Hasnat Abdullah.
Former Whip and Reformist leader Syed Shahidul Haque Jamal is also trying to get BNP’s nomination.
There are also possible contenders from Charmanai Pir’s Islami Andolon Bangladesh.
They have announced that their party’s youth wing leader, Maolana Nesar Uddin, as their candidate for the upcoming general election.