Four-party loses all Sylhet seats
The four-party alliance suffered a stunning defeat in greater Sylhet region yesterday losing all the 19 seats in four districts to the AL-led grand alliance with almost no contest. Voting was held peacefully with around 80 percent turnout of voters no reports of violence.
The gaps ranged between 4500 votes to over one lakh at different constituencies. Yesterday's election was just more than a reverse to that of the 2001 polls when AL lost to the BNP-led alliance in all the 6 constituencies of Sylhet district.
Stalwart like BNP's former finance minister M Saifur Rahman lost to his rival AL's advisory body member AMA Muhit in Sylhet-1, while he lost to AL-led grand alliance candidate Syed Mohsin Ali in Moulvibazar-3 with big margins.
It was just a revenge for Muhit, who lost to Saifur in 2001 by over 40,000 votes in Sylhet-1. This time Muhit defeated Saifur, also a former classmate by over 38,000 votes, according to the unofficial results.
The AL-led grand alliance bagged all the 19 in the region, including four in Habiganj, six in Sylhet, five in Sunamganj and four in Moulvibazar this time.
The figure, however, includes two of JP -- Begum Momtaj Iqbal in Sunamganj-4 and Nabab Ali Abbas Khan in Moulvibazar-2. The rest 17 seats went to the AL men.
All it happened mainly due to the intra-party feuds in the BNP, while the AL managed their troubles in time to face the election seriously this time, party people admitted.
But in the 2001 polls, the AL suffered a huge setback with only seven seats in the division. These include all four of Habiganj, two in Sunamganj and one in Moulvibazar district, while it got no seat in Sylhet. With the death of party stalwarts -- Abdus Samad Azad and SAMS Kibria, the four-party alliance got the seats in the elections.
The AL got the highest 13 seats out of 19 in the division in 1996 polls. It includes four seats out of six in Sylhet, three of five in Sunamganj, three of four in Moulvibazar and three of four seats in Habiganj.
However, BNP heavyweight Saifur Rahman fought in three seats of Sylhet and Moulvibazar district, while won in two and lost to AL stalwart Humayun Rashid Chowdhury in Sylhet-1. As he quitted the Sylhet-4, AL's Imran Ahmed regained the seat in the by-election. With this, AL's seat rose to 14 out of 19 in the division.
In the 1991 polls, AL-led alliance had nine, including seven from the AL, one from Ganatantri Party and one from Communist Party of Bangladesh. In Sunamganj, AL got two, while CPB got one and Ganatantri Party managed one.
AL got two each from Moulvibazar and Habiganj districts and one in Sylhet district. Ganatantri Party's Suranjit Sengupta joined AL, while CPB's Nozir Hossain joined BNP. However, Nozir defeated Sen in 2001 in Sunamganj-1.
While visiting the Sylhet Government Pilot High School centre, First Secretary and the Head of Immigration of the British High Commission in Dhaka Stuart Persival told The Daily Star that a satisfactory number of voters turned out to cast their votes.
However, he refused to say anything about other election-related issues.
BNP stalwart M Saifur Rahman, who is contesting from Sylhet-1 and Moulvibazar-3 constituencies, also told newsmen on the Madan Mohan College premises that the number of the voters was well enough in Moulvibazar and Sylhet.
He was hopeful of winning the election in both the seats, but alleged that in some voting centres AL men had created obstacles for BNP men to exercise their franchise.
Asked about the AL's allegation against BNP activists for intimidation at places, Saifur said the allegations were totally baseless.
On grand alliance's AMA Muhit, who is contesting with him in Sylhet-1, Saifur said, “Muhit was a civil servant all his life and is yet to become a matured politician.”
After casting his vote at the city's Durgakumar Government Primary School centre, Muhit expressed his satisfaction over the security arrangement.