With Awami League's mayoral candidate for Rangpur City Corporation (RpCC), Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu, set to concede a defeat to Jatiya Party's (JaPa) Mustafizur Rahman, senior Awami League leaders have expressed frustration over the result.
They blamed the defeat on lack of coordination between Jhantu and activists of local units of Awami League.
JaPa mayoral candidate Mustafizur Rahman was leading the polls as vote counting was underway Thursday. According to the district election office, Mustafizur Rahman bagged 99,136 votes, while Awami League candidate Sarfuddin Ahmed received 38,339 votes and Kawsar Zaman Babla got 19,525 in 115 polling centres among 193.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, two Awami League presidium members even observed that the selection of Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu as the party's mayoral candidate was not a good idea at all. Both the presidium members preferred not to be named.
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An adviser of Awami League, wishing anonymity, claimed that local Awami League leaders did not work properly for Jhantu.
He said: “It was a great experience for Awami League. I hope the party will not make any mistake in future and pick the most suitable candidates for the next national elections. Otherwise we have to suffer a great deal.”
In his reaction, Rangpur-1 MP and Jatiya Party leader Moshiur Rahman Ranga told the Dhaka Tribune that the Election Commission had arranged a model election.
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Regarding Jhantu's defeat, Ranga said: “This is a defeat for Jhantu, not for Awami League, as Jhantu did not behaved well with local Awami League leaders as well as voters.”
He also claimed that Awami League had made a mistake by nominating Jhantu.
A district level leader of Awami League, wishing anonymity, said: “Jhantu was not the first choice of local Awami League leaders. He was also controversial and unpopular among the local voters.”
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When contacted, Shafiur Rahman Shafi, president of Rangpur city Awami League, declined to make any comment over the defeat of Jhantu. But he claimed that all units of Rangpur city Awami League had worked for Jhantu during the election campaign.
Shafiur Rahman Shafi had also vied for the party ticket to contest the RpCC elections as a mayoral candidate.
Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Qauder welcomed the newly elected mayor of RpCC, saying: “Though Awami League was defeated, fair politics and democracy has won in this election.”
He also said: “Through this election, Awami League has proved that fair and participatory election will be possible under Sheikh Hasina's government, and this is a message for BNP for the next national elections.”