Maiden AL triumph in Khulna | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 06, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 06, 2008

Maiden AL triumph in Khulna

The Awami League (AL) has captured the mayor office of Khulna City Corporation (KCC) for the first time since its inception in 1984, ending the 16-year run of detained BNP leader Sheikh Tayebur Rahman.
City residents hoped the new mayor will deliver on his election promises by providing them with better living.
In his instant reaction after the returning officer announced the unofficial result at 5:45am yesterday, showing him the winner by a wide margin, Khaleque pledged to live by his commitment to the city residents at any cost.
Soon after he went to the mosque to offer prayers. Emerging from the mosque, he phoned his party chief Sheikh Hasina, now in the US for medical treatment. Both Hasina and Khaleque got emotional at the time.
The AL chief asked him to oversee the development of Khulna in utmost honesty and sincerity in the greater interest of the people.
Khaleque bagged 1,57,812 votes while acting mayor and BNP leader Moniruzzaman Moni polled 1,31,976 votes, giving the AL leader a win by 25836 votes. 77.8 percent of the city's 3,99,376 voters cast their votes. 2038 votes were cancelled.
He said his first job as mayor would be to root out corruption from the KCC, ensure proper accountability there and make the city corporation a non-partisan and neutral body.
"I want to work together with the councillors leaving behind political differences in a bid to make Khulna a modern city," he said.
City residents hoped that the next mayor would wash his hands of past mayors and implement his election pledges in full.
"We hope the new mayor would not resort to corruption, nepotism and politicisation. We hope he'd not harbour any criminal activities," Mohammad Shakil Hossain, voter from ward No 24, said.
Later, Khaleque went to the house of his defeated rival Moni to seek his cooperation.
Moni offered Khaleque sweetmeats and said he has no complaint against anyone. The BNP leader said he would help the newly elected mayor in carrying out development works in the city. Other defeated mayoral candidates have also pledged all help.
No procession was brought out in the city to celebrate Khaleque's victory due to the state of emergency.
Many city residents and AL activists think that Khaleque, who hails from Bagerhat, won the KCC mayoral race due to full-fledged support from his party and Jatiya Party as well as the working class.
Khaleque's associates told The Daily Star yesterday that a number of AL leaders including Sheikh Helal and ex-mayor Kazi Aminul Haque contributed to Khaleque's poll campaign fund.
Sources said Jamaat-e-Islami, which extended its support to Moniruzzaman Moni, did not campaign against Khaleque on the polling day, hoping that if Khaleque is elected, he will not be able to contest the parliamentary election from his constituency Bagerhat-3 where Jamaat holds second position in terms of number of votes won in the last general election.
Khaleque campaigned in the city extensively to woo the voters that had helped him win the mayoral race.
Khaleque's polling agents think that Khaleque emerged victorious as both the civil and police administration remained neutral during the city corporation polls.

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