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Update : 2017-11-11 00:00:00
AL ‘desperate’ to win city polls
To finalise mayoral candidate for Rangpur city today
Shawkat Ali Khan

AL ‘desperate’ to win city polls

The ruling Awami League will put in its best efforts to ensure win in the upcoming elections to six city corporations, taking it as an acid test ahead of the next national polls. Party policymakers believe the results of the city polls will have a strong impact on the next general election expected to be contested by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The electoral race in the six cities will begin with Rangpur City Corporation as Election Commission has already announced the schedule for Ranpur city polls slated for December 21. AL policymakers consider the upcoming city polls as dress rehearsal for the final battle of the next parliamentary elections scheduled to be held between 2018 and 2019. The AL won the last Rangpur city polls, but suffered defeat in the elections to five other city corporations — Barisal, Khulna, Sylhet, Gazipur and Rajshahi. As Rangpur city polls are drawing nearer, the local government nomination board of the AL will hold a meeting at Ganabhaban, the official residence of Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina, also the party president, today at 7:00pm. Insiders say the party will sit to finalise its mayoral candidate for the Rangpur city polls. AL presidium member Abdur Razzaque, also a member of the nomination board, said they are working hard to ensure win of the party-backed candidate in the polls. “The results of Rangpur city polls will strongly impact other elections. So, the party will field the most competent mayoral candidate to win the polls,” he said. The party aspirants, who have clean image and maintain contact with the grass roots, may get party ticket for contesting the polls with the ‘Boat’ symbol, he added. AL insiders say more than 10 mayoral hopefuls are expecting party nomination for contesting Rangpur city polls but incumbent mayor Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu may get nomination again. The ruling party wants to have the results of the upcoming city elections in its favour to maintain continuity of the current pace of development, they said. Elections to Gazipur, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Mymensingh, Khulna and Barisal city corporations are likely to be held between December and April next year. AL presidium member Faruk Khan said that they have already started the process to field candidates for the elections to the six city corporations. “Being a big party, many will try to get party tickets to contest the city polls. The party men, who are popular in their areas, will be given nominations,” he added. As part of the strategy to ensure win in the upcoming city corporation elections, steps have already been taken to resolve the internal party conflicts, the AL leader said. It is learnt that many aspirants have got green signal to start campaign to woo voters in their areas. AL president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have already discussed the matter with some trusted leaders of the party, insiders said. Sheikh Hasina expressed her opinions in favour of giving nominations to popular leaders on the basis of survey reports. Party sources said the party will select mayoral candidates on the basis of surveys and opinions of the grassroots. But some aspirants, who contested the last city corporation polls, may get party nomination considering their popularity. Referring to the recent local government elections, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said that the AL-backed candidates won the majority seats in the polls. “It proves that the popularity of the party (AL) has increased a lot. So, the results of the upcoming city elections are expected to come in favour of our party,” he said.