The uncle-nephew tussle intensifies as polls near
Followers of the incumbent Barishal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah -- who has been denied Awami League's ticket for the upcoming mayoral race -- are dominating the race for councillor posts in the BCC polls scheduled to be held on June 12.
The majority of the councillor aspirants are loyal to Serniabat since he used to have uncontested control over the Barishal city AL unit as its general secretary.
His father Abul Hasanat Abdullah had a similar influence over the party's Barishal district unit.
Sadiq's followers are running for the posts of councillors in nearly half of the total 30 wards of the city corporation while Khair's followers are in the race in five to six wards, according to local AL sources.
Meanwhile, AL's mayoral candidate Abul Khair Abdullah is not well known in the city and has no party portfolio. Consequently, his followers are running for comparatively fewer posts.
Leaders and activists of the Barishal city and district AL saw a division after the party picked Khair over Sadiq as AL's mayoral candidate on April 15.
Serniabat, also nephew of his competitor Khair, has shown desperation over retaining his position, while Khair's camp has been gaining strength over time. This has also led to confrontations between the two camps. An attack on Khair's followers on May 14 night and the arrest of Sadiq's men on the next day in this connection further exacerbated the situation.
The arrestees are -- Roiz Ahmed Manna, convenor of Barishal city unit Chhatra League, his brother and 12 other BCL men.
Sources reveal that Khair Abdullah has had little to no support in his mayoral campaign from AL leaders, most of whom remain loyal to Sadiq and his father.
To resolve this rift between the two factions of the party, a nine-member AL central coordination team -- led by Hasant Abdullah --was formed on Wednesday night.
The team is going to visit Barishal soon and work on helping Khair to garner votes.
Besides, a joint meeting between leaders of the district and city AL committees is scheduled to be held at the residence of Abul Hasanat Abdullah on May 23 and 24. Joint Convenor of AL's Barishal city unit Gazi Noimul Hossen Litu confirmed the matter to The Daily Star.
Meanwhile, the nomination papers of four independent mayoral candidates were cancelled yesterday. The nominations of six other candidates, including the AL-nominated candidate, were declared valid after scrutiny.
Returning Officer of Barishal City Corporation Election Md Humayun Kabir announced the names of the valid and invalid candidates.
According to the Barishal regional election office, the independent candidates whose nominations were declared invalid are Lutful Kabir, Syed Esahak Mohammad Abul Khair, Md Asaduzzaman and Nesharuddin.
On the other hand, the nominations of Awami League's Abul Khair Abdullah, Jatiya Party's Iqbal Hossain, Islami Andolan Bangladesh's Syed Md Faizul Karim, Zaker Party's Mizanur Rahman Bachchu, independent aspirants Kamrul Ahsan and Ali Hossain were declared valid.
Of the 146 nomination papers for the councillor posts, 134 were declared valid yesterday by the returning officer after the scrutiny.
At least 20 leaders of BNP and its associate bodies are running for the councillor posts.
However, Shah Aminul Islam Amin, joint convener of BNP's ward 19 unit, withdrew from the mayoral race, following pressure from the party higher-ups.