Bagerhat, Dec 24 (UNB) – With the national election only days away, a vigorous electioneering is heating up Bagerhat-2 constituency in the cold of winter as it is attracting the attention of voters – and netizens alike – thanks to Sheikh Tonmoy, the grandson of Bangladesh’s founding father.
Tonmoy, the nephew of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will represent the Awami League in the December 30 election. The political ‘novice’ will fight BNP’s seasoned candidate and district unit chief MA Salam, who lost the 2008 polls to AL candidate Mir Showkat Ali Badsha.
Bangabandhu’s grandson has created a stir with both of his oratory and looks. The confident lanky young man is optimistic about winning his first parliamentary election.
Other candidates from the constituency include Bangladesh Communist Party’s Khan Sekender Ali, Zaker Party’s Khan Arifur Rahman, Islami Andolan Bangladesh’s Md Abdul Awal, independents SM Azmal Hossain and Rejaur Rahman Montu.
Bagerhat-2 at a glance
*There are 17 unions and one municipality
*Total voters 2,84,096 – male 1,42,002 and female 1,41,094
*Total polling stations 119
The young gun
The ruling party has won the seat thrice in general elections held between 1991 and 2014. Being in office for 10 years has boosted the morale of AL activists, who are confident about winning the seat again.
Locals say the ruling party is leading the campaign and is in a strong position. But Tonmoy is not taking any chances as he is going from door to door to seek votes.
“I’m a candidate of the young generation. We dream of a beautiful Bangladesh,” Tonmoy said. “I joined politics out of my interest to serve the country and its people.”
He said the party was much organised in the district and that activists of AL and its affiliates were working together. “I’m getting overwhelming response,” he said.
Tonmoy promised to rid Bagerhat of bribery, corruption, terrorism and drugs, and treat everyone equally and work with everybody to maintain the trend of development, if he is elected.
“Even if I lose, I’ll extend support to the winner [and work for the welfare of people],” the young man added.
Campaigning is going on in full swing for AL but the scenery is almost the opposite for the BNP. The constituency is filled with posters and leaflets of the ruling party candidate while one will have a hard time seeking out the BNP candidate’s posters.
BNP’s Salam contested the 2008 polls from his party. This time though, he is taking part as a candidate of the Jatiya Oikyafront, a new political alliance with BNP at its forefront.
He has been complaining that there is “no atmosphere for a fair and peaceful election” and that his posters were torn down at night.
“Our activists and supporters are being threatened and attacked in many areas,” he claimed.
“Several vehicles, including mine, have been vandalised. My supporters were also assaulted, leaving several of them injured. BNP activists cannot stay at their homes because of threats,” he alleged.
AL candidate Tonmoy has rejected the allegations, saying there is a peaceful polling atmosphere in the constituency.
Despite all complains, Salam says he is hopeful of winning this time if the voters can come to the polling centres.
Everyone will have to wait until December 30 to find out who will come out on top – Tonmoy or Salam.
This time though, there are a lot of young and first-time voters. They are waiting eagerly to cast votes for the first time.
Two young voters --Salma Akter and Babul Hossain from the Sadar Upazila -- say they want the member of parliament from their constituency to be elected with their votes.
But they also expect a lot from the new government. They want the government to maintain the country’s sovereignty and the trend of development; root out unemployment and ensure jobs for fresh graduates.
They say they are looking forward to a country free of corruption, nepotism and irregularities.
Many other voters have said they want to exercise their franchise in a peaceful atmosphere. Salma and Babul, like numerous other young voters, say they expect politicians to work together for the country’s development, irrespective of whoever wins the election.