Ivy's Prospect in N'ganj Polls: Does the Osman family matter?
12:00 AM, November 28, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:59 AM, November 28, 2016

Ivy's Prospect in N'ganj Polls: Does the Osman family matter?

The mighty Osmans are apparently getting cornered in Narayanganj politics with various controversies involving the family being discussed inside and outside the ruling Awami League ahead of the mayoral polls.

The Osman family on several occasions drew a lot of flak as their names came up in several heinous incidents, especially the humiliation of a headmaster, killing of schoolboy Tawki and the sensational seven-murder.

On November 22, AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a meeting with Narayanganj district leaders of the party came down hard on lawmaker Shamim Osman for taking position against AL's mayoral nominee Selina Hayat Ivy.

Hasina asked Shamim either to support Ivy or quit the party, a meeting source said.

The PM also reportedly blasted the Osmans for their role after the 2013 murder of Tanvir Mohammad Tawki, son of Narayanganj Gonojagoron Mancha Convener Rafiur Rabbi.

Local politicians and people say if the Osmans do not work for Ivy, the family members might face trouble in the coming days.

In the 2011 mayoral polls, Ivy defeated AL-backed Shamim by one lakh vote though the city was known to be the stronghold of the Osman brothers, whose grandfather Khan Shaheb Osman Ali was a founding member of the AL.

Mayor Ivy, daughter of reputed AL leader Ali Ahmed Chunka, has initiated some measures -- especially those against crime and corruption -- which led to a rise in her popularity, locals say.

This mayoral election, scheduled for December 22, will be held under party banners and it is likely to see major politicking out in the open as well as behind the scene.

Shamim had successfully manipulated local unit of the AL not to include Ivy's name in a three-member panel. 

All the three were pro-Osmans.

The panel was submitted to the party high command. But the AL Parliamentary Board led by Hasina picked Ivy, who will now contest the polls with the party's electoral symbol "boat".

On November 20, a member of the Osman family said they were likely to submit nomination paper for the mayoral race.

“Either Parvin Osman [wife of late Jatiya Party MP Nasim Osman] or I might file nomination paper to fight for the mayoral post,” Salim Osman, a Jatiya Party lawmaker from Narayanganj-5, told The Daily Star on November 20.

But none from the family filed the paper.

“Osman family's vote bank will not be a factor for Ivy. She has become the leader of the masses of Narayanganj and people expect democratic behaviour from Shamim Osman,” Abdur Rahaman, general secretary of Narayanganj Nagorik Committee, told this newspaper.

Rahaman also said the Osman family's political defeat was already sealed after the murder of seven people, including Narayanganj city panel mayor Nazrul Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Sarkar, and the killing of Tanvir Mohammad Tawki.

Besides, Shyamal Kanti Bhakta, headmaster of Piyar Sattar Latif High School in Bandar area, was beaten up by a mob and made to squat holding his earlobes in the presence of Salim Osman, Shamim's elder brother.

Sunil Kumar Saha, a small entrepreneur in the city, said, “Ivy is ahead in the election race and it does not really matter what Osman family will do for her.

“But as Sheikh Hasina asked the Osman family to work for Ivy, they have to follow the order. Otherwise, the Osmans will face trouble next time in getting the party blessing.”

On Saturday, asked whether he will work for Ivy, Shamim said, “We will work for the party symbol despite my limitations as a lawmaker.”

Ivy said Awami League has a vote bank in Narayanganj and she hoped that all the party leaders will work together for the party's win.

Abdul Hai, president of Narayanganj district AL, said the Osman family has some influence here, but following the prime minister's instruction, all will work together for “boat”.

Meanwhile, Ivy held a meeting with the AL central leaders at the party president's Dhanmondi office yesterday noon.

In the meeting, Ivy said she would go to local lawmaker Shamim Osman to seek his support in the upcoming Narayanganj City Corporation election, said meeting sources.

"My visit may be helpful or not…but I will go,” an AL leader quoted Ivy as saying.

AL central leaders told Ivy that they would remain active during the polls campaign to ensure that Shamim Osman works for Ivy.

“The Awami League candidate must win the polls if we are united in the party,” an AL leader told The Daily Star. 

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