Gazipur City Polls: Zahangir dead set on getting mother elected
Despite the ruling Awami League's repeated warning of taking stern action against him, suspended Gazipur city mayor Zahangir Alam is adamant to back his mother in the mayoral race.
Zahangir is now desperate to get his mother Zaida Kahtun, an independent, elected as his nomination was cancelled by the Election Commission during scrutiny, say his supporters.
The former mayor has already started seeking votes for his mother.
"I urge you all to elect a good person so that no one becomes a victim of such injustice in future. I seek your cooperation for getting my mother elected as mayor," Zahangir told people at the Bhogra Bypass Jame Masjid after Juma prayers on Friday.
He claimed that he did not commit any crime but he became a victim of injustice.
"I spent my time and money and also worked hard to serve the people. I am standing by my mother to ensure the welfare of the people," he added.
Speaking at a views-exchange meeting with the locals at Zahangir's home in Gazipur city's Bhogra around noon yesterday, Zaida said that her son was removed from his post "unjustly". She hoped that she would be elected mayor if the polls are fair.
Zaida said she believe people would vote for her keeping in mind the good work done by her son. "If I am voted mayor, I will complete the unfinished development work of my son."
Meanwhile, Mirza Azam, AL organising secretary (Dhaka division), on Thursday night said that the party was going to take action against Zahangir for going against its decision.
A decision will be made in this regard after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the AL president, returns home from abroad, Azam said at a joint meeting of the Gazipur district and city units of the party and its associate bodies at Chuti Resort in Bariya of Gazipur.
"Sheikh Hasina once pardoned Zahangir Alam even after he breached party discipline. In his apology, Zahangir said that he won't do anything that would go against party discipline ever. Breaking that pledge, he became a rebel candidate. He breached the party discipline again and he must be punished," the AL leader said.
Zahangir was elected Gazipur mayor in the 2018 city polls on AL ticket. He was expelled from the party on November 19, 2021, for making derogatory remarks about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and expressing doubts about the number of martyrs in the Liberation War.
Seven days after his expulsion, the government suspended him as mayor.
In January this year, Zahangir apologised to the AL president in writing. He was pardoned by the ruling party on January 21 on the condition that any further violation of organisation's rules by him would be deemed unforgivable.
Zahangir on April 27 collected a nomination form to run for mayor in the city polls after being denied an AL ticket.
The last date for withdrawing candidacies is May 8.
During the first polls to Gazipur City Corporation in 2013, Zahangir kept mum about supporting AL-backed mayoral candidate Azmat Ullah.
He "went missing" after refusing to quit the polls race as an AL rebel. He later withdrew from the race after coming under pressure from the AL high-ups, said party sources.
However, his name was on the ballots as the deadline for withdrawal of candidacies expired in the mean time.
Although Gazipur has been a stronghold of the AL, Azmat Ullah lost that election to BNP-backed MA Mannan by more than 1 lakh votes.