Vol. 5 Num 404 Sat. July 16, 2005  

Door-to-Door Campaign in Sunamganj-3
98 out of 127 polling centres 'vulnerable’
0ver 100 expatriates come home for voting

With only four days left for the Sunamganj-3 by-polls, campaign has reached a high pitch with weary candidates moving door to door and holding rallies to woo voters in remote villages in Jagannathpur and South Sunamganj upazilas.

The ruling alliance already held several big rallies, addressed by some of its central leaders and a number of lawmakers from the region for its candidate Shahinur Pasha Chowdhury.

BNP Secretary General Mannan Bhuiyan along with a number of lawmakers addressed two rallies for Pasha. Jatiotabadi Juba Dal chief and Commerce Advisor Barkatulla Bulu also addressed a number

of rallies on Thursday.

A team from central Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) led by Moulana Fazlul Haque Aminee MP will be in Jagannathpur and Sunamganj tomorrow to join the campaign for Pasha.

Jatiya Party (JP) chief HM Ershad started a three-day campaign yesterday, holding a rally at Raniganj Bazar in Jagannathpur for party candidate Lt. Col (retd) Ali Ahmed.

Central leaders of Jatiya Party (Manju) will also hold rallies today for their candidate Iftekhar Ahmed Limon.

Mahi B Chowdhury of Bikolpa Dhara, Bangladesh will also join rallies for his party man Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury.

Central leaders of Awami League are not in the campaign as the party has boycotted the by-polls. But two party men are in the race with full backing from the party leaders in both the upazilas.

The daughter of former Speaker and AL stalwart Humayun Rashid Chowdhury -- Nasrin Rashid Karim-- addressed two rallies at Pagla Bazar in Sunamganj and at Jagannathpur in favour of Nazrul Islam on Tuesday. She is also campaigning in villages in Sunamganj and Jagannathpur.

The most interesting thing is that about a hundred expatriates, most of them from London, came home in the last two weeks to join the campaign for their candidates. They are spending money lavishly for their men, locals said.

Jagannathpur is one of the upazilas in Sylhet having the highest number of expatriates in the UK.

A group of 35 expatriates reached home on Tuesday to join the campaign for Nazrul, who is also an expatriate having business in the UK.

Sunamganj Deputy Commissioner Jafar Siddique who is also the Returning Officer, told The Daily Star that 98 out of 127 polling centres in the constituency are 'vulnerable'.

Forty-six of the centres are in eight unions in South Sunamganj and 81 in eight unions and one pourashava in Jagannathpur upazila. The number of voters is 2,18, 450.

Meanwhile a high level meeting held in capital on Sunday decided to hold the election in free, fair and peaceful atmosphere at any cost, sources in the administration here said.

Army and BDR will be deployed in the constituency a day before the by-polls.

Political circles say the fight will be among alliance nominee Shahinur Pasha Chowdhury, former additional secretary Mannan backed by a faction of AL and Md. Nazrul Islam, former Sylhet district Juba League chief, also having support from a faction of AL.

The JP nominee, Lt. Col. Ali Ahmed, also may be a factor for them.

Some sources however claimed that voters may also be guided by regional feeling as Mannan is the lone candidate from eight unions in Sunamganj while the rest eight are from eight unions in Jagannathpur.