A group of fresh contestants from different political parties are contesting the upcoming eleventh national election against several heavyweight candidates in six constituencies of Rangpur.
According to district election office, as many as 43 aspirants are vying for six MP posts from Rangpur and of them, 18 are contesting for the first time in the general election.
Among the heavyweight candidates, Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad, its Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga, Speaker of the Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Lawmaker AHM Ashequr Rahman are vying for the MP posts.
Rangpur-1 (Gangachara upazila): This constituency has been a stronghold of JP for long, although Abdur Rouf of Awami League (AL) and BNP's Shafiqul Gani Swapan were elected MPs in the 1973 and 1979 elections respectively, while JP has retained the seat since 1986.
JP candidate Ranga was elected MP from the constituency in 2001 for the first time and again elected unopposed in the 2014 polls.
AL leader Asaduzzaman Bablu, also former chairman of Gangachara Upazila Parisahd, is one of the fresh MP candidates in the constituency.
Rangpur-2 (Badarganj and Taraganj upazilas): The constituency has been a fortress of AL and JP as candidates of both the parties were elected lawmakers for five times each since 1973.
Though 10 contenders from different parties, including sitting AL MP Abul Kalam Ahsanul Haque Chowdhury, are competing in the electoral race from the constituency, most of them are fresh faces.
Rangpur-3 (Sadar upazila): Jatiya Oikyafront candidate Rita Rahman, contesting the polls with the symbol 'sheaf of paddy', appeared as a fresh candidate from Rangpur-3 constituency, which has been considered as a stronghold of JP since 1986. Rita's main opponent is JP Chairman Hossain Mohammad Ershad.
Rangpur-4 (Pirgachha and Kaunia upazilas): This constituency is also considered as a stronghold for both JP and AL.
Tipu Munshi, who was elected as lawmaker for the second consecutive time, will contest the polls against new faces like BNP's Emdadul Haque Bhorsha and JP's Mostafa Selim.
Rangpur-5 (Mithapukur upazila): AL sitting MP NH Ashequr Rahman is to take on new face Jatiya Oikyafront nominated candidate Prof Golam Rabbani (Jamaat), who is competing in the electoral race with the symbol 'sheaf of paddy.'
AL MP Ashequr was elected lawmaker from the constituency in 1986, 1996, 2008 and 2014 general elections.
Rangpur-6 (Pirganj upazila): AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina contested the electoral race from this constituency in 2008 and 2014 and later left the seat for the by-elections in which Abul Kalam Azad and Speaker of the Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury were elected lawmakers respectively.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin is set to take on several new faces, including BNP district unit President Saiful Islam, in the upcoming elections.
HM Ershad, Shirin Sharmin, Moshiur Rahman and Ashequr Rahman are familiar faces in the general elections, a voter in Rangpur city Nazmin Khatun said, adding that it will not be an easy task for the freshers to contest the polls against such heavyweight candidates.