Rangpur-3 by-polls draw all sides

Special Correspondent

6 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Major political parties are set to fight for a Rangpur-3 parliamentary seat, which was vacated following the death of opposition Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammd Ershad, amid growing interest by the major contestants.

The JP is putting its best effort to retain the seat of its former chairman while ruling Awami League is eyeing for wining the seat, capitalising on its growing popularity in greater Rangpur.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which has decided not to join any election under the Awami League government after its humiliating defeat in the last December 30 polls, is also ready to challenge the popularity of the ruling and main opposition parties.

The ruling party and the JP contested the last December 30 parliamentary polls under a grand alliance while BNP contested the polls under the banner of Jatiya Oikya Front, led by Dr Kamal Hossain.

Amid the preparation of the political parties, the Election Commission, which has failed to attract the voters in polling booths in the recently held Upazila Parishad polls, has already fixed October 5 for the by-polls.

At least six aspirants of the ruling party have bought the nomination forms to contest the by-election to Rangpur-3 constituency.

The aspirants are Chowdhury Khalequzzaman, Anwarul Alam, Tusher kanti Mandal, Rozi Rahman, Rezaul Islam Milon and Abdul Mazid. 

Awami League Parliamentary Party led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is scheduled to sit for a meeting on September 7 to field a candidate for the by-polls.  

The JP, which has been in the seat since its inception, has already urged the ruling party not to field any candidate by showing respect to its late chairman Ershad.

At least four candidates—-Rahgir Al-Mahe Ersahd, Merina Rahman, SM Yeasir and Fakhruzzaman Jahangir—-have been seeking the nomination to contest the polls with plough symbol. 

“We have not fielded any candidate in Gopalganj during the last parliamentary polls showing respect to Bangabandhu. We will request the Awami League not to field any candidate in Rangpur-3 seat showing respect to our late chairman HM Ershad,” JP presidium member Faisal Chsity told daily sun.

Despite JP’s request, Awami League general secretary said that they would nominate a candidate to contest the by-polls as his party never boycotts any by-elections.

“Everyone has the right to contest the polls. We are also taking preparation to contest the by-polls,” Quader told reporters.

The Awami League has returned to power for the third consecutive term, securing 257 seats of the 298 seats in the polls, contested by the BNP-dominated JOF.

Though the JP contested the polls with the Awami League, it took the opposition side in parliament after winning the 22 seats and Ershad became the Leader of the Opposition.

Parliament Secretariat has declared the Rangpur-3 seat vacant at the death of Ershad, who passed away on July 14 while undergoing treatment at Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka.

As per law, the by-polls should be held within 90 days.

The BNP, which rejected the polls result bringing allegation of vote rigging and other irregularities, is likely to contest the by-polls.

BNP insiders say that they will start selling nomination papers from September 5.