Vol. 5 Num 857 Sun. October 22, 2006  

Election 2007
Jamaat may face tough task to retain its stronghold
BNP to oppose coalition partner in Satkhira-2

Jamaat-e-Islami, a key partner in four-party alliance, may face a tough task to retain Satkhira-2 (Satkhira Sadar upazila) seat in the coming election as a large section of ruling BNP leaders and activists are out to 'resist' incumbent Jamaat lawmaker Maulana Abdul Khaleque Mondal if he is nominated again.

BNP leaders blame Khaleque for creating a rift in the alliance by ignoring BNP. Khaleque may get alliance ticket in the coming election, Jamaat leaders claimed.

Satkhira-2 constituency is a stronghold of Jamaat as it won the Jatiya Sangsad seat in 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001elections.

But the situation may be different in coming election as Jamaat and BNP have fallen apart in the area, allegedly because Khaleque Mondol sidelined BNP in all activities including implementing development projects and distribution of VGF cards and relief, political circles said. Jamaat and BNP leaders are now engaged in mudslinging, they said.

In 1996, Jamaat leader Kazi Samsur Rahman own the seat defeating Jatiya Party candidate Syeda Razia Foyez by a margin of only 209 votes.

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

A senior leader of Satkhira district BNP claimed that Jamaat's hopes may be shattered in the coming election mainly because of Abdul Khaleque's alleged nepotism and corruption in selecting development projects and for neglecting BNP.

"People are also annoyed with Abdul Khaleque because he depends solely on party men. Whenever any body goes to him for anything, he seeks recommendation from local Jamaat men", the BNP leader said.

Amid widening rift in the alliance, an influential BNP leader and general secretary of Satkhira Bus-Minibus Owners Association, Alhaj Abdur Rouf announced that he would seek alliance ticket from the constituency.

"As Khaleque Mondol lost people's confidence, there is no alternative to nominating Abdur Rouf. He is a popular leader", said another BNP leader.

"Maulana Khaleque won the seat in last election with BNP votes. This time it will be hard to convince BNP supporters to vote for him as he (Khaleque) ignored BNP", he said.

Khaleque and Abdur Rouf are campaigning in the area.

At a recent meeting, 12 out of 14 Union Parishad (UP) chairmen belonging to ruling BNP declared that they would not support Khaleque Mondal if he is nominated again by the alliance, party sources claimed. Abdur Rouf is also chairman of Alipur Union Parishad.

They alleged that the Jamaat lawmaker ignored UP leaders in all development activities, and even in distribution of VGD cards and relief work. Only Jamaat men were involved in such work, they alleged.

Rouf's supporters are holding meetings and doing mass contact in the constituency for the last one and a half years, said Khabir Uddin, a front ranking leader of Jatiyatabadi Shramik Dal, labour front of the BNP and general secretary of district transport workers union.

When contacted, Kaleque Mondol however denied the allegations. He claimed that he did a lot of development works in the area in last five years and has good relations with BNP leaders and workers.

Abdul Khaleque Mondol