Vol. 5 Num 827 Sat. September 23, 2006  

BNP seeks ticket in Satkhira Jamaat 'stronghold'

Ruling alliance partners are in a face-off over nomination from Satkhira-2 (Satkhira Sadar upazila) in coming parliamentary election.

The constituency is known as a stronghold of Jamaat as the won from there in 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001elections.

But Jamaat may face a tough task to retain the seat in the coming election as a large section of leaders and activists of BNP said they will resist Jamaat candidate Principal Abdul Khaleque Mondal this time.

In 1996 polls, Jamaat leader late Kazi Samsur Rahman was elected from the area defeating Jatiya Party's Syeda Razia Foyez with a small margin of 209 votes.

In 2001 election, Jamaat leader Principal Abdul Khaleque Mondal won the seat as an alliance candidate. He got 1,24,206 votes against Awami League candidate Nazrul Islam's 69, 861.

The rift between the alliance partners widened wen an influential leader of Satkhira district BNP Abdur Rouf announced his candidature recently. Rouf is also general secretary of district bus-minibus owners association.

"As Khaleque lost people's confidence, there is no alternative to nominating BNP candidate Abdur Roaf", a front ranking BNP leader told this corespondent seeking anonymity. Rouf is a popular leader and has large number of supporters, he claimed.

"Maulana Khaleque won the last election with BNP vote. This time it will be hard to convince BNP supporters to vote for him as he (Khaleque) has created a rift between BNP and Jamaat in the constituency", he alleged.

Local BNP leaders and activists have launched a hectic campaign for Abdur Rouf, a senior party leader said. On the other hand, most of the BNP leaders and activists are opposing nomination of incumbent Jamaat lawmaker Abdul Khaleque Mondal, he said.

He did little development work in the area, he alleged.

Opposing Mondal's nomination, 12 out of 14 Union Parishad (UP) chairmen belonging to BNP at a recent press conference deman-ded nomination for Rouf, who is also chairman of Alipur UP.

They alleged that whatever the lawmaker did during his tenure was for his party men men. They were ignored even in distribution of VGD cards, they alleged.

"If the coalition intends to retain the seat, there is no alternative to nominating BNP leader Abdur Rouf", one of them told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.

Rouf's supporters have been doing mass contact in the constituency for the last one and a half years, said Khabir Uddin, general secretary of district transport workers union and an influential leader of Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal, labour front of the BNP.

Nomination seekers from Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JP) (Ershad) have also started pre-polls campaign.

Satkhira district AL general secretary Nazrul Islam is likely to get the AL ticket this time, party sources said.

Talking to this correspondent, Nazrul said, people will not support Jamaat in coming election because it could not do any development work.

"The list of development works claimed to have been done by Jamaat lawmaker is not correct as he included projects implemented by the previous Awami League government, such as Satkhira Pinstitute, Shishu Sadan, Satkhira Jail", he claimed.

On the other hand JP (Erhsdad) central leader Abdul Jabbar has started mass contact to get the party nomination.

Jatiya Party chief Ershad's move to join the four-party alliance has made Jamaat unhappy. JP leaders are demanding nomination from the JS seat.

"As I have done a lot of development work in the constituency and I am still popular in my Constituency so I will be able to regain the seat", incumbent Jamaat lawmaker Abdul Khaleque Mondal said.