Cumilla City Polls: BNP to go tough on rebels
"I worked for the people and I will do so in future whatever my party's decision might be."
The BNP will take strong punitive measures against the party men running for Cumilla City Corporation mayor as the party is hell-bent on not contesting any polls under the incumbent government.
Top party leaders said if any of its leader runs in the June 15 Cumilla city polls, the contender will face tough punishment as high as expulsion from the party.
"The party's position is that it will not join any polls, be it a national or local government election. Stern action will be taken against the violators of this decision," Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the BNP, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Monirul Haque Sakku, two-time mayor of the CCC, has decided to participate in the mayoral polls as an independent candidate. Yesterday, he submitted nomination papers to the Election Commission.
Party insiders said after BNP leader Taimur Alam Khandaker contested the Narayanganj City Corporation polls as an independent candidate early this year, the party expelled him.
Sakku, incumbent joint general secretary of Cumilla South city BNP, was removed as member of the party's executive committee last year over allegations of not joining its programmes.
Contacted, Sakku said he served as Cumilla city mayor twice and tried to work with people from all political backgrounds. He said he is taking part in the election this time as well because people wants him to serve them as mayor for a third term.
"I have been involved with the BNP for the last 42 years. I never quit the party. As a mayor, I had to work with all. What can I do if anyone interprets this in a different way? I worked for the people and I will do so in the future, whatever my party's decision may be," he said.
Asked whether the BNP leaders and activists were with him in the polls campaign, he said people of all 27 wards of the city corporation were with him.
Sakku was the first elected mayor of the CCC. In the January 5, 2012, polls to the corporation, he contested as an independent candidate and defeated influential Awami League leader Afzal Khan with support from his party.
In the 2017 mayoral election, he defeated Afzal's daughter Anjum Sultana as the BNP candidate.
Other than Sakku, Swechchasebak Dal leader Nizamuddin Kaisar has also submitted nomination for the mayoral post. He is the president of Cumilla city Swechchasebak Dal.
BNP insiders said if Kaiser contests the polls, he is also likely to be expelled from the party.
The BNP earlier joined local government elections after the last parliamentary elections although the party had said that it would not participate in any election under the incumbent government.
But when the local government polls were marred by violence and allegations of vote rigging, the party boycotted the local government elections too.
Awami League has nominated Arfanul Haque Rifat as its mayoral candidate for the CCC polls.
The Election Commission on April 25 announced the CCC polls schedule and said that voting will be held using electronic voting machines (EVMs).