12:02 AM, February 03, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Grassroots ignore party directives

Grassroots ignore party directives

17 AL men to contest polls in a single upazila
Staff Correspondent

Disregarding Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina's directive on having one party-backed candidate for every post in the upazila parishad polls, 17 Awami Leaguers have sought candidacy for three posts of Kotalipara upazila parishad in Gopalganj.
The upazila is under the prime minister's own Gopalganj-3 constituency.
Of the 17, eight are vying for the chairman post, five for one vice-chairman post and the other four for a vice-chairman post reserved for women, according to information available at the district returning officer's office.
In Gopalganj upazila, the situation is almost the same. As many as 17 Awami League men are seeking candidacy for three posts in the upazila parishad. Of them, five for the chairman post, nine for one vice-chairman post and three for the vice-chairman post reserved for women.
What the Awami League is facing in Kotalipara upazila, the BNP is facing the same in Parshuram upazila of Feni, an area considered by many as BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's backyard.
The BNP men there failed to choose one candidate for each post. Five BNP men sought candidacy for one chairman post while three for one vice-chairman post in the upazila parishad.
Chowdhury Emdadul Haq, general secretary of Gopalganj district Awami League, told The Daily Star that they would sit tomorrow and attempt to pick one candidate for each post.
Abu Taleb, general secretary of the Parshuram upazila BNP, said, "We will try to pick a single candidate before the last date [February 11] for withdrawal of candidacy."
Intra-party conflict, misunderstanding between district and upazila committees, and district-level senior leaders' nepotism are blamed for the parties failing to pick one candidate to back for each post.
The situation is more or less same in most of the 117 upazilas parishads going to polls on February 27, the second phase of the local government polls.
In the first phase, 97 upazilas are going to polls on February 19 and the Awami League and the BNP have failed to pick one candidate for each post in those as well. The last date for withdrawing candidature in the first phase is today.
Yesterday was the last date for applying for candidacy in the 117 upazila parishads polls. A total of 766 people filed nominations for the post of chairmen, 682 for vice-chairmen and 404 for the vice-chairmen posts reserved for women, said EC officials.
In Laksham upazila in Comilla, three aspirants belonging to the Awami League sought candidacy for chairman while two each from BNP and Jatiya Party are vying for the same post.
In Patiya upazila of Chittagong, three candidates of Awami League, four from BNP and one from Jamaat are seeking candidacy for chairman.
Nine aspirants have applied for chairman in Kishoreganj upazila of Nilphamari. Three of them are Awami League men, three BNP, one Jatiya Party and the rest two are independents.
In Dinajpur, a total of 60 candidates sought candidacy for chairmen and vice-chairmen posts in four upazilas. Of them 26 are Awami League men, 23 BNP, six Jamaat, and five JP.
In Rajshahi, a total of 19 candidates are seeking candidacy for three posts in Bagha upazila. Of them eight are Awami League men, nine BNP, one Jamaat and one Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal.
Similar pictures were seen in the upazilas of Mymensingh, Netrakona, Tangail, Bagerhat, Rangamati, Jamalpur and Meherpur, reports our district correspondents.
Hasina had earlier instructed her party's grassroots to pick one candidate for each post in the upazila elections. Her party also sent letters to grassroots leaders in this regard, party insiders said.
The BNP high command had also directed its grassroots leaders to choose one candidate for each post to fight the Awami League-backed rivals.
The officially non-partisan elections to this crucial local government body are being seen as a matter of pride for the two camps. They want to prove their popularity winning the polls which follow the January 5 one-sided general election boycotted by the BNP-led alliance.
Both parties have opened up hectic negotiations to persuade party rebels to quit the race and ensure better result for the party. They expect many to withdraw today but some rebels have refused to quit.


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