Three sons of presidents are running for parliament from Kishoreganj and people are saying it's the district of the VIPs.
Syed Ashraful Islam, son of acting president of Bangladesh during the Liberation War Syed Nazrul Islam; Rejwan Ahammad Taufiq, son of incumbent President Abdul Hamid; and Nazmul Hassan Papon, son of late president Zillur Rahman are the candidates running in Kishoreganj-1, Kishoreganj-4 and Kishoreganj-6.
NOT IN FIELD, BUT IN MIND
Even though their candidate is in Bangkok fighting stage-four cancer and has very little chance of returning to political life, well-wishers and supporters of Syed Ashraf Islam in Kishoreganj-1 have conducted a vigorous campaign.
From posters to rallies, his family and party members were electioneering in full swing for the four-time MP of the constituency despite poor chances of his returning to political life, his younger brother had told the media.
Yesterday, on Station Road, Ashraful's sisters Syeda Zakia Nur and Syeda Rafia Nur, and his cousin Syed Ashfaqul Islam were seen asking for votes.
The days and nights were festive with motorbike processions, public meetings, cultural shows and street rallies. AL activists said their lively campaigning was a tribute to their beloved leader.
District AL general secretary MA Afzal said they were confident of winning the seat for the fifth time. “He is incomparable and a candidate's profile matters.”
Even though some constituents were unsure whether the bed-ridden leader could serve them again, Grocer Dulal Chandra said, "It does not matter that he is not on the field. He holds a place in the hearts of the people here.”
Son of Syed Nazrul Islam, acting president of Bangladesh during the Liberation War, Ashraful was elected MP from Kishoreganj-1 in 1996, 2001, 2008 and 2014. He is the public administration minister and was the general secretary of AL from 2009 to 2016.
The 68-year-old fell ill after the death of his wife Sheila Islam last year.
Meanwhile, electioneering of his rival, BNP candidate Rezaul Karim Khan, has progressed without much fanfare.
Posters of the BNP candidate were hung all around Kishoreganj Sadar and Hossainpur area. Some even in front of the AL district office on city's Station Road.
Slogans for “sheaf of paddy” were heard from loudspeakers but no procession or public meetings were seen.
Some BNP activists alleged that they were facing “harassment by law enforcers”.
PAPON IN GEAR, ALAM IN FEAR
Papon was electioneering in full swing in Kuliarchar of Kishoreganj but his rival BNP's Shariful Alam could hardly campaign over the last two weeks fearing attacks by ruling party men and even police.
The BNP candidate and his men were obstructed and attacked every time they tried to bring out a procession.
On December 12, plainclothes men and identified local AL activists allegedly attacked his rally. Shariful's leg was broken.
In the second attack on December 24, police obstructed his rally and then opened fire leaving several of his supporters hit.
In Kuliarchar area on Wednesday, people of the localities were still panicking. At least 10 of them told The Daily Star that they thought congenial atmosphere for the polls was not present.
The AL office there was in festive mood, preparing to join a rally of Papon on that day.
The AL men said they were hopeful of victory and upholding the political legacy of Zillur Rahman.
In 2008, Zillur won the seat and his closest rival was Shariful himself. After Zillur's death, Papon was elected uncontested in 2014.
Many locals said Shariful was popular and the race could be tight, if the election was held fair.
Shariful was seen sitting with a few party men at his office around 12:45pm on Wednesday.
He claimed that his men could not move freely fearing arrest and eight of his election camps were attacked. Police harassment was unbearable.
"On Tuesday, a business friend of mine came to my house. They also detained him. Later, he was freed on request," he said, adding that around 40 of his supporters were arrested since December 12.
PROMISING HAOR DEV
Haor-based Itna, Mithamoin and Ashtagram upazilas make up Rejwan Ahammad Taufiq's constituency Kishoreganj-4.
The president's son's main rival is Fazlur Rahman of the BNP but Ahsanullah of Islami Andolon Bangladesh could pose as quite a challenge.
Rejwan has been campaigning with promises of agro-based development and haor-based tourism.
Fazlur, a former AL leader, alleged that police were harassing and obstructing his campaign.