Vol. 5 Num 832 Thu. September 28, 2006  

2 ministers back rival BNP factions in Kishoreganj-1
Three BNP contenders to vie for ticket, Jamaat also adamant

Two ministers are backing two BNP contenders from rival factions for nomination from Kishoreganj-1 constituency while a former deputy minister is also in the filed.

Jamaat-e-Islami, a key partner in the ruling alliance, also wants the seat as one of the 50 it has demanded across the country.

In 2001 election, four-party alliance candidate BNP leader Idris Ali Bhuiyan was defeated by Awami League nominee Dr Alauddin Ahmed, former vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, with a margin of only 114 votes. Dr Alauddin got 86,623 votes while Idris Ali got 86,509.

BNP thinks there is good chance of wining the seat in the coming election as its candidate lost the last polls with a small margin, party sources said.

But there are several nomination seekers in the constituency, which is a matter for worry for them.

Two ministers are campaigning for their candidates while a former deputy minister is seeking vote for himself, which widened the rift among BNP workers in the constituency, local people said.

At a recent public meeting at Bahadia High School compound in Egarasindur union of Pakundia upazila, education minister Dr M Osman Faruq introduced Abdus Salam, secretary of Dhaka city BNP, as a candidate from Kishoreganj-1constituency. He described Abdus Salam as a 'guardian' of people of Pakundia and Hussainpur upazilas. The meeting was boycotted by Pakundia upazila BNP leaders, party sources said.

As Pakundia upazila BNP committee boycotted Osman's meeting, he, as president of Kishoreganj district BNP, dissolved the upazila committee.

Following this, BNP enforced a half-day hartal in the upazila to protest the alleged 'illegal and undemocratic decision', Idris ALi, former president of Pakundia upazila BNP, told this correspondent.

Dr. Osman also dissolved Hussainpur upazila BNP committee earlier but it's secretary Rafiqul Islam is still holding the post defying the district BNP committee's decision, he said.

Former BNP lawmaker Maj (Rtd.) Akhtaruzzaman Ranjan also termed the district committee illegal, as it was formed with only two members--Dr. Osman as president and Waliullah Rabbani as secretary. A full-fledged committee was not formed in a year after formation of the convening committee. Ranjan also threatened to form a new committee, saying the two-men committee is illegal, formed undemocratically.

On contact, Rafiq said, he is performing his duty as secretary of Hussainpur upazila committee as per instruction of public works and housing minister Mirza Abbas, who is also minister in-charge of the district.

Sources close to Abbas Said, as Abbas does not support Osman's candidate Salam, he leads a rival faction in the constituency.

The sources said Abbas was trying for nomination for his younger brother Mirza Khokon, a ward commissioner in Dhaka city. Posters were circulated and rallies held in favour of Khokon in different areas of the constituency in recent days.

But due to poor response from people, Abbas extended his support to Idris Ali Bhuiyan. This has intensified the rivalry between factions led by Osman and Abbas, sources said.

On the other hand, former deputy minister ABM Zahidul Huq has launched campaign, meeting people and holding rallies. Zahidul had own the seat in 1991 election and was made deputy minister. As he was refused BNP ticket ion 1996, he ran in the race but lost. Now he is in the field.

Talking to this correspondent, Zahidul said he has a large number of party followers in the area.

"I am the only alternative now as the two ministers are leading rival factions of the party.

"BNP or BNP led alliance will lose the seat if I am not nominated in the coming election", he claimed.

Now, three probable BNP candidates--Abdus Salam, Idris Ali and Zahidul--are holding meetings, going door to door and distributing posters and banners, triggering off tension among BNP leaders, workers and supporters, party sources said.

Seeking anonymity some senior BNP leaders said, interference by the two ministers has worsened the situation in the constituency.

District Jamaat Ameer Tayobu-zzaman said, Jamaat has been working in the constituency for five years, contributing lavishly to orphanages, madrasas, mosques and social organisations. Jamaat has also formed social welfare committees, he added.

Jamaat worked silently while BNP was engaged in feud, political circles said. Jamaat wants a seat from greater Mymensingh and Kishoreganj-1 is suitable for them, they said.

Clockwise from top left: Abdus Salam, Idris Ali, Tayebuzzaman, Zahidul Haque