Imprisoned Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia's brother-in- law with 'paddy sheaf' as symbol seems to be a beneficiary in the ensuing Jatiya Sangsad (JS) election in Nilphamari-1 constituency (Domar and Dimla upazilas) as the candidates of grand alliance partners Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JP) are locked in a feud.
According to the district returning officer's office, eight candidates are contesting from the constituency, but locals said the main contestants are incumbent lawmaker AL's Md Aftabuddin Sarker, JP's Jafar Iqbal Siddiquee and BNP's Rafiqul Islam.
Locals said AL has a strong organisation and a big vote bank, putting freedom fighter Aftabuddin in a good position.
His supporters are seeking votes by citing the widespread development done by the AL government with Sheikh Hasina as prime minister.
JP's organisation is not so strong here but its candidate Jafar, who was elected lawmaker from here in the election in 2008, has a clean image and poses challenge to the AL candidate as he (Jafar) also focused on the same development by the grand alliance government.
In this situation, 'boat' and 'plough' supporters consider each other as rivals and are locked in a feud. A number of clashes took place between them in the last few days.
The JP candidate, in a press conference on Sunday, alleged that 'boat' supporters occupied their meeting venue at Kalirdanga in Dimla on Saturday.
Jafar also alleged that, on December 17, 'boat' supporters led by AL candidate's nephew Ferdous Parvez attacked him while he (Jafar) was campaigning with supporters in petrol pump area in Dimla upazila town, injuring around 10 people.
Aftabuddin refuted the allegation and said the JP candidate's men often bring out motorcycle showdowns in Dimla town and elsewhere, violating electoral code of conduct.
The feud between 'boat' and 'plough' has put BNP candidate Rafiqul Islam, also ex-professor of Rajshahi University, in a good position as he can campaign without fear.