Vol. 5 Num 358 Wed. June 01, 2005  

Dozens eye Sunamganj-3, prepare to enter fray

A large number of aspirant candidates from different parties are in the race for party tickets to contest the by-election to Sunamganj-3 seat of the Jatiya Sangsad that fell vacant following the death of Awami league stalwart Alhaj Abdus Samad Azad.

Samad died on April 27.

The probable candidates have already started informal campaign, meeting people and lobbying for party nomination.

Wall writings have appeared in favour of some of the aspirants in the city and in Jagannathpur upazila headquarters, late Samad's constituency.

The aspirants include a good number of expatriates. Some of them already announced their candidatures at press conferences and meetings with different groups.

As per the Constitution, by-election should be held with 90 days but the polls schedule is yet to be announced.

Samad's eldest son Don, an aspirant, joined several social gatherings and other programmes in Sylhet as well as in Jagannathganj in last several months.

Don joined the weeklong mourning programme for his father, organised by AL in Jagannathpur upazila headquarters as well as at his village home last week.

"The matter is in the hands of party chief", Don told The Daily Star.

"Whoever gets the signal from her will be the AL man".

Sunamganj district AL at a recent meeting discussed a possible party nominee.

They are thinking of campaigning under the banner of a 'Nagorik Committee'.

Another strong candidate is MA Mannan, former Additional Secretary of Election Commission. Mannan told this correspondent yesterday that he is hopeful of getting blessings from AL. He held several rallies in Jagannathpur and in South Sunamganj in the last fortnight.

Another aspirant is Syed Nazrul Islam, former Sylhet district chief of Awami Juba League. He returned from UK four days back.

Nazrul has a good vote bank in the area, locals said.

Sunamganj district AL Vice-president Siddique Ahmed is also willing to be in the fray.

Moulana Shahinur Pasha Chowdhury, a young leader of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e Islam, who fought Samad in 2001 parliamentary polls on a Four -Party Alliance ticket, returned home from USA a week before the AL stalwart's death.

He had lost to Samad by 5,636 votes. He is lobbying for an Alliance ticket.

The Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ), a component of the Alliance, held several meetings in the capital over the matter.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Pasha claimed that the Alliance will announce his candidature within a week.

However, another candidate is trying to come to the scene with blessings from Khelafat Majlish chief Shaikhul Hadis.

Following some recent developments inside IOJ, Khelafat people here are no more interested to run with Sahhinur Pasha, party sources hinted. The Majlish people have already started lobbying for Moulana Foyez Ahmed, general secretary of IOJ's UK unit. He returned home on May 9 and started campaign right on the following day.

A section of the ruling alliance here is also assessing the probability of fielding Gulzar Ahmed, a former leader of Ganotantri Party, who joined BNP in 1991.

Some party sources said Faruque Rashid Chowdhury, younger brother of late AL leader Humayun Rashid Chowdhury, would be a good choice for the Alliance.

A state minister during Ershad's rule, Faruque Rashid joined BNP some years back. But he is silent about politics for long, some sources said.

Former vice-president of Sylhet city BNP MA Maleque Khan and Sunamganj district BNP leader Rafiqul Islam are also in the race.

Lt. Col. (Retd) Syed Ali Ahmed, who joined Jatiya Party weeks ago, announced his candidature and held several meetings. The party's Sunamganj upazila vice-president Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury (Rupa Chowdhury) also announced his candidature at a press conference held in Sylhet city last week.

Another aspirant from the party is Zillur Rahman.

Late AL stalwart Abdus Samad Azad