AL gets toehold in Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi cities after decades | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 07, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 07, 2008

AL gets toehold in Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi cities after decades

After decades of repeated defeats Awami League (AL) finally regained control of Barisal, Khulna and Rajshahi city corporations through Monday's local government elections as its mayoral candidates won defeating the candidates of its archrival BNP, which had ruled the cities most of the time during the period.
Shawkat Hossain Hiron is the first mayor-elect with an AL ticket in Barisal City Corporation (BCC) in 35 years. Abul Hasanat Abdullah was the last AL leader to be elected as the chairman of the local government there when it was a municipality in 1973.
Since then Jatiya Party and BNP leaders led that local government as its chairmen or mayors. In 2003 the first election to BCC was held after Barisal had been turned into a city, in which Enayet Pir Khan, a candidate of an AL-backed coalition named Nagorik Parishad, lost the mayoral race to BNP's Mujibur Rahman Sarwar, who is currently in jail on charges of corruption. That election was however allegedly marred by wholesale rigging.
Before the first election to BCC, a BNP government had appointed Ahsan Habib Kamal, a leader of the party, as the administrator of the city corporation.
This year AL also captured the office of mayor in Khulna City Corporation (KCC) for the first time since formation of the corporation in 1984, ending almost a 19-year rule of BNP leader Sheikh Tayebur Rahman, who is also currently behind bars on charges of corruption.
Late MA Bari had been the only AL leader to win any election in Khulna city since independence until Monday. He had been elected a member of the parliament in 1973.
Sheikh Tayebur Rahman could not contest in the poll this year due to his recent conviction in a criminal case.
AHM Khairuzzaman Liton is also the first AL leader to win an election in Rajshahi city in 35 years. Liton's father AHM Kamruzzan, one of the four national leaders assassinated in jail in November 1975, was the last AL leader to win two seats from there in the parliamentary election of 1973.
Jatiya Party leaders M Abdul Hadi, Durul Huda and Mejbahuddin Ahmed, and detained BNP leader Mizanur Rahman Minu ruled Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) since its formation in 1987 until Liton won the mayoral race there on Monday.
Minu was first appointed as the mayor of RCC in 1991 by the then BNP government, and later he was elected to the post in 1994 and 2002. He was also elected a parliament member in 2001. But this time around he could not take part in the RCC mayoral election as a court had already sentenced him to 13 years of imprisonment in an extortion case.

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