Staff Correspondent
The 30,686 newly-enlisted youth voters would play the key role in electing the next mayor of Sylhet, a number of city dwellers believe.
This year’s top two aspirants for the mayoral post, both are ex-city fathers, AL’s city president Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran and BNP’s central committee member Ariful Haque Chowdhury have specially targeted the new voters.
Against 291,046 voters in 2013 polls, now it is 321,732, including 171,444 male and 150,288 female in Sylhet city.
In the 2013 polls, Ariful got 107,000 votes while AL’s Kamran bagged 72,000 votes. Arif believes the new voters as well as the common men would consider the development works done during his just-ended tenure while Kamran belives his contribution in the past regimes (1995-2013) to upgrading of the Sylhet Pourasava to City Corporation would be evaluated properly. Kamran was the last pourasava chairman and first mayor of city.
However, comparatively BNP’s Ariful is in much trouble now from his alliance partners as well as from a party rebel. City BNP’s General Secretary Badruzzaman Selim was expelled from party last week after he denied withdrawing his mayoral nomination. Besides, city Jamaat Amir advocate Ehsanul Mahbub Jubayer is on the contest as independent runner while Islami Andolan has Mozaaem Hossain on the field.

Ariful alleged both Jamaat man and BNP’s rebel are just dumy for Kamran. However, Kamran said it is the problem in BNP-led alliance.

This is why Kamran is enjoying a better atmosphere with 14-party alliance support, although BSD-CPB has their candidate Syed Abu Zafar like independent runner Ehsanul Haque Taher.

Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran said yesterday, ‘I am confident the people will consider what I had done for the city during my tenures’. He however alleged both the BNP and Jamat men had been violating the electoral codes. Specific complaints had been lodged with the EC, Kamran added.
On the other hand, Ariful Haque Chowdhury said, ‘Sylhet people wouldn’t accept Khulna and Gazipur type incidents. He alleged the police were haunting the party workers at their homes almost every night. The ruling party men are also threatening our workers, he claimed, we have filed specific complaints, but to no action as yet.’
Both the candidates are doing their best to meet the voters door to door till almost midnight everyday. However, party men in groups are also knocking the houses as well as on the shops and offices everywhere to woo the voters in favour of their symbols.