The race for nomination for the 11th National Polls has geared up in Natore-1 constituency like in the other districts of the country, with the country’s top two parties, BNP and Awami League, both acutely suffering from internal feud.
After the death of former heavyweight BNP candidate Fazlur Rahman Patal, the party has no significant candidate for the seat however three aspirants are simultaneously conducting electioneering in the field at present.
On the other hand, the sitting AL lawmaker Md Abul Kalam is going face stern challenge in his own party as at least eight Awami League leaders have made a coalition against him.
Fazlur Rahman won the seat for three consecutive times in 1991, 1996 and 2001; but was defeated by Jatiya Party’s Abu Talha. In 2014, AL kept the seat at its hand, making district AL president Md Abul Kalam lawmaker from the seat without contest.
Kalam is an aspirant this year also. He said, “Our leader Sheikh Hasina has fixed some criteria for nomination. According to those criteria, I hope I myself would be nominated.”
Kalam’s elder brother and former AL lawmaker Mamtaj Uddin’s wife Shefali Momtaj, who became lawmaker from reserved female seats in 2008, is another aspirant from AL.
The list of AL aspirants also include former BCL leader Md Anisur Rahman; Krishak League central committee organising secretary Atiqul Huq; Momtaj Uddin’s son Shamim Ahmed; former AL central sub-committee joint secretary Silvia Parveen; Bagtipara uazila AL president Abul Hossain; district AL president Majed Ur Rahman and Bangladesh Prajanma League central committee’s adviser Ramjan Ali Sarker.
Shefali Momtaj said, “After becoming lawmaker Abul Kalam created division among party cadres. Except the Lalpur upazila AL president and GS, no local AL leaders and activists are with him anymore. We have formed an alliance against him. Whoever among us is nominated, other aspirants would work for him.”
The alliance was made recently under the initiative of Atiqul Huq with the understanding of remaining united against the present lawmaker.
There is rumour in the locality if the seat is given to alliance partner JP, due to the acute internal feud among AL leaders.
Former JP lawmaker from the seat Abu Talha said, “Our party chairman has fixed my candidature for this constituency. After being elected in 2008, I carried out a lot of development works in the locality. The present lawmaker did nothing; he couldn’t manage allocation even for one kilometer stretch of road.”
From BNP, Fazlur Rahman’s wife Kamrun Nahar wants to vie for the next polls. She said, “My husband Fazlur Rahman is considered as the sole person behind the development of Lalpur-Bagtipara. I want to participate in the polls being requested by the activists of my late husband.”
Manjurul islam, former joint organising secretary of district BNP, Chhatra Dal central vice-president Tariqul Islam and BNP central committee joint office secretary Taiful Islam are also actively electioneering since last few weeks.
Nahar said, “My husband was respected by all in Natore. If I am nominated nobody would protest.”
Contradicting Nahar’s statement, Taiful said, “Fazlur bhai was our leader, but that doesn’t mean that everyone from his family would be our leader.”
Jamaat-e-Islami central committee publication secretary Tasnim Alam also is distributing leaflets.