Women aspirants for JS seats reach new high | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 26, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 26, 2008

Women aspirants for JS seats reach new high

50 to contest in 52 constituencies

Clockwise: Kobori, Dipu Moni, Elen Bhutto and Moitree Chakma

Apart from Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, a crop of female leaders of different political parties have emerged as tough candidates in different constituencies in the upcoming parliamentary election.
This time 50 woman candidates are contesting in 52 seats. In the 2001 polls, 38 women contested from 48 constituencies.
Both the Awami League (AL) and BNP have nominated a few of these females whose husbands became ineligible for being convicted in different corruption and criminal cases.
Of the 50 female candidates, 16 are leaders of the AL, 14 of the BNP, two of Jatiya Party (JP), four of Gono Forum, three of Bikalpadhara Bangladesh and one each of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, JP-Manju, Krishak Sramik Janata League, National Awami Party, National People's Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal.
Besides, seven women are fighting as independent candidates.
Dipu Moni, AL's women affairs secretary and daughter of language movement veteran Mohammad Abdul Wadud, has thrown a challenge in Chandpur-3 to strong BNP candidate GM Fazlul Haque who won the last two parliamentary polls from here.
Former student leader Shirin Sultana is contesting as the BNP candidate in Dhaka-9 against influential AL leader Saber Hossain Chowdhury. Saber won the 1996 election in the constituency while Shirin is in an electoral race for the first time.
Also in her first time fight in parliamentary poll is legendary actress Sara Begum Kobori. She has already come into discussion by creating a good image in her constituency, Narayganj-4, where BNP has nominated industrialist Shah Alam.
Rangamati voters will see a fight between well-educated Dr Alo Rani Aich of Bikalpadhara and Moitree Chakma of BNP.
Besides Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Joint Secretary General Selima Rahman, the BNP has nominated Sabina Yasmin in Natore-2, Rumana Mahmud in Sirajganj-2, Majeda Ahsan in Comilla-4, Hasina Ahmed in Cox's Bazar-1, Elen Bhutto in Jhalakathi-2, Shahida Akhter Rita in Jamalpur-1, Afroza Khan Rita in Manikganj-2, Shama Obayed Islam in Faridpur-2 and Helen Zerin Khan in Madaripur-2.
Sabina Yasmin, Rumana Mahmud, Majeda Ahsan and Hasina Ahmed got nomination after their husbands, who were BNP lawmakers from the seats, were convicted by the court and cannot qualify for the poll.
Elen Bhutto won the last parliamentary election while former Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal leader Helen Zerin Khan was defeated.
The AL has nominated Nilufar Zafarullah in Faridpur-4 as her husband AL Presidium member Mohammad Zafarullah cannot contest the polls because of conviction.
Apart from party President Sheikh Hasina, presidium members Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and Matia Chowdhury and central leader Sahara Khatun, the party has nominated Zannat Ara Henri (Sirajganj-2), Sultana Tarun (Kustia-4), Habibunnahar (Bagerhat-3), Begum Monnujan Sufian (Khulna-3), Rebeka Momin (Netrakona-4), Sagufta Yasmin (Munshiganj-2), Sanjida Khanam (Dhaka-4), Meher Afroze Chumki (Gazipur-5) and Lutfunnahar Begum (Noakhali-3).
Sagufta Yasmin and Meher Afroze Chumki were elected members of parliament from reserve seats in 1996. Sagufta contested the last parliamentary polls but was defeated.
Sanjida Khanam came into limelight by playing a vital role as Hasina's lawyer after promulgation of the state of emergency.
AL candidate Habibunnahar is the wife of Khulna Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque and Rebeka Momin is the wife of late AL leader Abdul Momin. Begum Monnujan Sufian is a veteran labour leader.
The AL also endorses independent candidate Ayesha Ferdous of Noakhali-6 as her husband Mohammad Ali was declared unfit by the returning officer.
JP leader Roushan Ershad is running in the election from Gaibandha-5 and Mymensingh-4 while Momotaj Iqbal from Sunamganj-4.

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