A battle between uncle and niece | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 24, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 24, 2012

Gazipur By-polls on Sept 30

A battle between uncle and niece

Though it is true that three candidates are vying for the Gazipur-4 parliamentary seat at the by-polls due on September 30, the real battle will be fought between an uncle and a niece -- both from the ruling Awami League.
The niece is Simeen Hussain Rimi and the uncle is Afsaruddin Ahmad. Rimi is also the daughter of the country's first prime minister Tajuddin Ahmad and elder sister of former state minister for home Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj.
While Rimi has been nominated by the AL to contest in the constituency previously held by Sohel until he resigned as an MP in July, Afsaruddin, Tajuddin's brother, is being backed by a top AL leader close to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
This top leader holds some grudge against Sohel Taj and even "misbehaved" with him soon after he took office as state minister for home, AL insiders in Gazipur say.
The incident happened at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital in 2009. This "disheartened" Sohel and led to his resignation from the home ministry the same year and from parliament in July this year, they added.
The top party leader, a presidium member of the AL and a close relative of Sheikh Hasina, faced harsh criticism within the party for his "misconduct" and that is why he is supporting Afsaruddin instead of Rimi, according to the sources.
“We are sure about this as we got information from Dhaka,” Nazrul Islam, president of Bangabandhu Sainik League in Kapasia, told this correspondent.
“Afsaruddin considers himself the stronger candidate as that top leader is backing him," Nazrul said, “But, he [the top leader] is not doing it publicly as our leader [Sheikh Hasina] herself has nominated Rimi."
Rimi's campaign convener Abdul Kabir Ali and Kapasia AL president Asgor Rashid Khan say they expect a big win for Rimi, however big the "conspiracy" may be.
“We aren't worried about any backdoor conspiracy and that's why we don't want to make any comment on that matter,” Kabir Ali told The Daily Star on Saturday.
Sana Ullah, general secretary of Kapasia AL, echoed the view of the two.
Zakir Hossain, sports secretary of Kapasia AL, said Afsaruddin was looking to win the election with blessings form the "top leader" and a few other leaders sacked from the party. “But his dream will not come true as almost all the Awami League leaders are with Rimi.”
Afsaruddin, a former state minister, also expects that BNP and Jamaat supporters will vote for him, which is making him even more upbeat, some locals said.
Others say Afsaruddin may also benefit from the division in the local AL.
But Rimi's supporters say Afsaruddin does not live in Kapasia and is therefore detached from the voters while Rimi is involved with various social activities, including setting up libraries in different unions in Kapasia.
“Besides, she [Rimi] is the daughter of Tajuddin Ahmad and our leader [Sheikh Hasina] has nominated her as the party candidate. So all the Awami League voters will vote for her,” said a local AL supporter.
Bangladesher Communist Party-backed Asadullah Badal is the other candidate contesting the polls.

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