Politics start heating up over municipal polls

Country’s political arena is heating up as the first phase of the polls to 200 municipalities is set to begin next month.

According to sources, all the political parties are now busy campaigning to win the grass root-level elections. Central leaders from all the parties also remain busy exchanging information with the root-level leaders while leaders in the root-level are also keeping busy for securing party nominations. The nomination seekers are also busy with lobbying in different ways for the nomination purposes. 

As part of the election preparations, central offices in Dhaka of all the political parties are mostly found crowded with the leaders and activists. Almost similar situation is also noticed in the offices at the grass root-levels.  

According to witnesses, many of the nomination seekers have also started announcing their candidatures through posters, banners and festoons in their respective areas as well as in capital Dhaka to draw attention to the voters.  

Election Commission (EC) sources said, the elections to around 200 municipalities would be held in phases and might begin from last week of December. The EC sources also said that it would announce the election schedules in next week. 

However, the process in the elections to five municipalities, 8 upazilas and 14 Union Parishads are already on. Of them, elections to five municipalities will be held in December.

It should be mentioned that the last municipal election was held on December 30, 2015. For the first time, the ruling party won a landslide victory in the municipal elections held under the party symbol. 

Out of 234 municipalities, Awami League own in the 179 mayoral posts with the boat symbol, including 7 of them unopposed and 25 mayoral candidates won from BNP. Besides, 19 mayoral candidates won from Awami League’s rebel candidates, one from BNP’s rebel candidate, one from Jatiya Party (JPA), two from Jamaat and six others from independent mayoral candidates.

Leaders from ruling Awami League said, they would start nomination selection process immediately after the EC declares the election schedules. Therefore, distribution of party nomination forms among the candidates and submission of forms by the candidates will start soon. 

They said, grass root activists will take to the field after the nomination of candidates is finalized and the campaign starts. An election management committee will be formed from the center this year like in the past.

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader, also the Minister for Road, Transport and Bridges Affairs, said, “We have to prepare to win the election from now on. There must be a consensus on the goal of determining the right candidate to win.”

Party sources said, several strategies will be taken in the selection of candidates this year. Apart from the clean image, only dedicated and skilled candidates will be nominated for the post of mayors across the country. Any one who is involved in corruptions or a controversial person would not be given nomination.

Besides, the party will try to stop rebels from seeking candidatures so that intra party feud could not hinder party’s victory.

AL’s presidium member Col (Retd) Muhammad Faruq Khan said being the largest party, AL always is ready for election with fittest candidates. That is why, the party will nominate those who are popular and fit to carry out organisational responsibilities.

“No intruder and controversial person would be allowed get nomination”, he said.