'Rebel' Awami League (AL) leader Amanur Rahman Khan Rana, contesting as an independent candidate in Tangail-3 (Ghatail) constituency, talks to people; right, AL nominated candidate Shahidul Islam Lebu shakes hands with a rickshaw-puller, ahead of the November 18 by-election. Photo: STAR
All the three candidates in Tangail-3 (Ghatail) by-election slated for November 18 are now busy in mass contacts to woo voters.
The Awami League (AL) Parliamentary Board nominated Shahidul Islam Lebu, former general secretary of Ghatail upazila unit of AL, as the party candidate but Tangail District AL Religious Affairs Secretary Amanur Rahman Khan Rana is also in the polls race as an independent candidate.
Electioneering by 'rebel' AL candidate Rana, who enjoys support of a good number of local party leaders and activists, is likely to make the by-election a contesting one, despite boycott by the main opposition BNP.
Jatiya Party (JP-Ershad) backed candidate Syed Abu Yousuf Abdullah Tuhin is another candidate in the by-election.
The parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of ruling AL lawmaker Dr Matiur Rahman on September 14.
On November 4, a few central leaders of AL went to Ghatail and warned 'rebel' candidate Rana of expulsion from the party if he does not withdraw his candidature within three days while Rana on the same day declared that he will be in the polls race as 'a candidate of Ghatail people'.
Rana and Tuhin have sought deployment of army in the by-election to prevent 'possible rigging' while Lebu expressed his 'no objection' to the matter.
"I want deployment of army as Shahidul Islam Lebu, after being sure of his defeat in the by-election, is using the members of the law enforcement agencies to create panic among my workers and supporters," Rana said.
AL nominated candidate Lebu said, "I have no objection if army is deployed, for the sake of saving the voters from the criminals of independent candidate Amanur Rahman Khan Rana, resisting activities of the outsiders, and holding the election free and fair."
Tuhin has also emphasised deployment of army to ensure security of the voters and hold a free and fair election, especially against the backdrop of the tension 'due to the activities' of the two other candidates.
Asked about the matter, Syed Khurshid Anwar, returning officer of the by- election, also election officer in Mymensingh region, said the situation in Tangail-3 constituency ahead of the by-election is still calm and nice.
Visiting the constituency during the last couple of days, this correspondent saw that Shahidul Islam Lebu conducted processions and meetings, telling the voters that he will arrange gas supply and check crimes in the constituency and raise his voice to turn the upazila into a district if he is elected in the by-election.
Amanur Rahman Khan Rana was found very busy in mass contact, telling the voters that he will serve the Ghatail people as their man if they elect him.
Syed Abu Yousuf Abdullah Tuhin and his workers are also going door to door, telling the voters that he will be by their side, if elected.
Meanwhile, the large 'vote bank' of main opposition BNP may appear as an important factor to decide the winner in the by-election.
The BNP voters, however, are still undecided as no party candidate is contesting the by-election and their leaders asked them not to take part in campaign in favour of any of the candidates.