Urdu speaking voters, locally known as Biharis, in Nilphamari-4 constituency comprising Saidpur and Kishoreganj upazilas, are likely to play a decisive role in the December 30 elections.
Veteran politician and former chairman of Nilphamari Municipality Bakhtiar Kabir said, following the emergence of two independent countries India and Pakistan in 1947, a large number of Urdu speaking people, mostly Muslims, fled India in the face of a bloody communal violence there and took refuge in the then East Pakistan.
Most of the refugees took shelter at different government makeshift camps and houses in Saidpur, Bakhtiar said, adding that, as Saidpur had the largest railway workshop of the sub-continent then, many Urdu speaking officers and employees from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and othersareas were posted there.
Since then, Urdu speaking people formed a large linguistic minority community in densely populated Saidpur municipality area.
They cast their votes together in favour of those candidates who they consider look after their interests, he said.
According to the District Election Office, there are 3.72 lakh voters in the constituency of which around 85 thousand are in Saidpur municipality.
Of the municipality voters, nearly 70 percent come from Urdu speaking families.
Kishoreganj upazila Press Club President Fazal Kadir said all the candidates, no matter whether they belong to the ruling party or the opposition, making the outmost effort to woo the Urdu speaking voters.
During a visit to the municipality area yesterday, this correspondent heard election campaign in Urdu and also saw leaflets, printed in Urdu, being distributed among the Urdu speaking voters.
Zikrul Haque, 62, one of the Urdu speaking residents and organising secretary of Saidpur upazila unit BNP, said usually his community people prefer 'paddy sheaf' as they felt it convenient.
On the other hand, another Urdu speaking resident Dil Nawaz Khan, 38, also convener of the upazila unit Jubo League, said new generation voters of his community are now inclining towards pro-liberation ideology as they are unlikely to make the same mistakes their ancestors made during the Liberation War.
According to District Returning Officer's Office, four candidates are vying for the MP post from Nilphamari-4 constituency.
They are Jatiya Party-backed grand alliance candidate Ahsan Adelur Rahman, Jatiya Oikyafront nominated BNP's Amzad Hossain, Shahidul Islam of Islami Andolon Bangladesh and and Abdul Hye Sarker of National People's Party.