Tea workers, serving at different tea gardens in the district, will play a vital role in the upcoming upazila parishad elections scheduled for March 18.
According the district election office, out of a total of 164 tea gardens across the country 92 are situated in Moulvibazar.
Around 12 lakh voters in seven upazilas of the district will cast their votes in the upcoming elections.
Of them, around 3 lakh are tea labourers, who work at different tea gardens in the district for a living.
Ramvajan Kairi, general secretary of Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union, said Awami League (AL) nominated candidates and their opponents, mostly party 'rebels', are trying to woo the tea labourers as their votes will be a vital factor in the upcoming upazila parishad polls.
As the election is near, tea workers have become a centre of attention for the ruling party candidates and their opponents, he said, adding that the chairman aspirants, who have been campaigning in different upazilas for the last one month, are hopeful of a successful election.
“I have successfully ran my election campaign and tried to reach almost every tea labourer voters personally,” AL's 'rebel' candidate in Kulaura upazila Principal Shafi Ahmed Solman said, adding that, he is hopeful of being elected as the upazila chairman.
“If there is no manipulation, voters' decision will go in favour of me,” he added.
Kishore Roy Chowdhury Moni, AL rebel candidate in Juri upazila, said he is hopeful of winning the contest.
Meanwhile, AL-backed candidate in Kamalganj upazila Rafiqur Rahman said they tried to concentrate on the tea worker voters, which might play a decisive role in the upcoming election.
During his election campaign, AL candidate in Sreemangal upazila Ranodhir Kumar Deb said if he is elected he will ensure workers' rights and increase their wages.
Tea workers are mainly concerned about their wages, children's education and health security, Koloti Robidas of Kaliti Tea Garden in Kulaura upazila said, adding, “There is no specialised hospital for the tea workers though accidents are very common here.”
Mithun Kurmi, president of Uttaran Bangladesh, a tea worker students' welfare organisation, said most of the election commitments made by the former upazila chairmen are never fulfilled.
Faruq Mahmud Chowdhury, Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan), Sylhet chapter, said tea workers as well as voters from different minority communities in Moulvibazar will play a crucial role in the upcoming upazila parishad polls.