Vol. 5 Num 853 Wed. October 18, 2006  

Election 2007

Rivalry for ticket shadows AL's prospects in its stronghold
Lawmaker Shova faces three contenders

Intra-party feud and too many contenders for nomination in the coming election has shadowed Awami League's propects in Nilphamari-1 constituency (Domar and Dimla pazilas), a stronghold of the party for long.

Incumbernt lawnmaker from the constituency Hamida Banu Shova is facing rivalry from four nomination aspirants, three from her own Domar upazila and the other from Dimla upazila.

On July 18, Domar and Dimla AL leaders brought written allegations against Hamida Banu Shova to AL chief Shaikh Hasina during her meeting with them in Dhaka.

They made allegations of anti-party activity and misbehaviour with party men against the Shova..

At a public meeting during Sheikh Hasina's visit to Dimla last year, party joint secretary Obaidul Kader declared Hamida Banu Shova as party candidate for the next election.

Obaidul kader also said that as long as Shaikh Hasina remains AL chief, Shova would be party candidate from Nilphamari-1 constituency.

On September 29 this year, angry party workers obstructed Shova when she went to visit a Puja Mondap at Chilahati in Domar upazila. At a meeting there at night, they also declared her 'unwanted' in Domar.

Two weeks ago, at least seven party men were injured when some Jubo League activists loyal to her attacked some Chhatra League activists belonging to a rival grouyp in Domar.

Former ambassador and freedom fighter Aminul Hossain Sarker has emerged as a strong contender for AL ticket from the constituency. Aminul Hossain claimed that majority party leaders and workers in Domar upazila have rejected Shova for her alleged misbehaviour and rendered support to him.

This correspondent also talked to Domar and Dimla upazila AL secretaries Monju Chowdhury and Sanwar Hossain Lohani. They claimed that it might not be possible for Awami League to retain Nilphamari-1 parliamentary seat if Shova is nominated in the coming election. She has less contact with people and party workers, they alleged.

They said Aminul Hossain Sarker would be a better candidate.

Another AL nomination seeker is agriculture scientist Abu Inamdar, elder brother of Domar municipality chairman Al Azhar. Inamadar enjoys support of Domar municipal committee of the party, party sources claimed. He has launched a massive mass contact.

Domar upazila Awami League convenor Khairul Islam Babul is another nomination seeker. He alleged that Hamida Banu Shova is an "unsuccessful" lawmaker and has shattered the party image in the area.

But the most uneasy situation for all the candidates was created when freedom figher Aftab Uddin Sarkar, president of Dimla upazila Awami League and a vatern in 1969 student movement declared his candidature from this constituency last month.

He is the lone party candidate from Dimla upazila where the number of voters is more than that in Domar upazila, party sources said.

Talking to this correspondent, Dimla AL senior vice-president Abdul Kader Master and joint secrertary Abdul Wahed said this time they will 'not hire any outsider candidate' (Hamida Banu Shova) from Domar as they have genuine Awami League leader Aftab Uddin Sarkar.

Nural Islam and Tariqul Islam, former president and vice- president of Domar upazila AL and supporters of Shova however said those who oppose her are not genuine Awami League members. Domar AL convenor Khairul Islam Babul and many others like him campaigned for BNP candidate in 2001 election, they alleged.

Hamida Banu Shova however refuted all the allegations against her and said, "I am facing opposition as I am a woman candidate".

She expressed her optimism about getting nomination from Nilphamari-1 in the cominmg election.

"My leader Shaikh Hasina has confidence on me", Shova said.

Clockwise from top Left: AL MP Hamida Banu Shova, Ex-ambassador Aminul Hossain, Agri scientist Abu Inamdar & Dimla AL chief Aftab Uddin