Upazila polls throw up a few surprises
The ruling Awami League and the BNP have apparently lost their strongholds in the recently completed five phase of upazila parishad elections.
The Awami league-backed contenders have demonstrated their “organisational” strength in the five divisions while the BNP and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami retained their strength in the northern region of the country in the recently concluded upazila parishad elections.
A poor picture was projected by HM Ershad’s Jatiya Party as it failed to secure a single chairman post in Ershad’s hometown Rangpur district, popularly known as stronghold of the JaPa. The party, the main opposition in the parliament, secured only three chairman posts.
Interestingly, the Awami league-backed contenders failed to establish its supremacy in the party strongholds in Gopalganj, Habiganj, Sunamganj and some other districts and the BNP-Jamaat failed to maintain their strongholds in Lakhmipur, Satkhira, Feni, Noakhali, Chapainawabganj and some other districts where violence and irregularities marked the elections.
The Jamaat-e-Islami led by convicted war criminals failed to secure a single chairman post in Dhaka division and bagged only one in Barisal division.
Feni district is popularly known as the stronghold of the BNP and hometown of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. But in the upazila elections, BNP-backed chairman candidates failed to secure a single chairman post in the six upazilas.
Gopalganj, the home district of Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, Awami League-backed chairman contenders failed to secure two chairman posts in Moksedpur and Tungipara, the hometown of Hasina.
In Moksedpur, independent candidate won the chairman post and in Tungipara rival candidates of Awami League won the chairman post.
In Lakhmipur district, there are five upazilas that are also known as strongholds of the BNP, the party-backed chairman candidates secured only one chairman post.
In seven upazilas of Satkhira, known as a stronghold of the Jamaat, the right wing political party-backed candidate secured only one chairman posts out of seven and the rests were secured by Awami League-backed chairman candidates.
In Noakhali elections were held in nine upazilas while in one upazila it was postponed. Among the nine upazilas, five chairman posts were secured by Awami League-backed contenders while BNP-backed aspirants secured only three.
Sunamganj district is popularly known as stronghold of Awami League but in the upazila polls, the Awami League lost its stronghold as the BNP-backed chairman candidates won seven chairman posts out of the 10.
Political strength of Awami League in Habiganj is well known but in the local body elections the party bagged five chairman posts while the BNP secured two and the other one by an independent candidate.
The BNP showed its strength in the northern region as it bagged 26 chairman posts in Rangpur division and 26 in Rajshahi while the Awami League-supported candidates secured 21 and 18 chairmen posts respectively.
The Awami League-backed contenders took lead in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Khulna and Barisal divisions.
In Dhaka, the Awami League-backed candidates secured 57 chairman posts while those backed by the BNP won in 41 seats. Ershad’s JaPa got only one chairman post in Tarail of Kishorganj but the Jamaat got no seats in the division.
The candidates supported by the Awami League and the BNP came out neck and neck in Sylhet division where the ruling party-backed candidates bagged 18 and the BNP 15 chairman posts. The Jamaat got two seats.
In Barisal division, the Awami League-backed contenders got absolute majority as they bagged 21 chairman posts while the BNP-backed candidates got just four. Jamaat-backed contender bagged one chairman post in Zianagar of Pirojpur and another was bagged by the JP (Monju) in Bhandaria of Pirojpur.
In this division, at least in 20 upazilas, the BNP-backed candidates boycotted the elections alleging vote rigging and illegal stamping by the ruling party men.
There were incidents of stray violence in the first phase of polls but it increased in the second phase. In the third phase, violence took a serious turn as three people were killed and clashes took place at a number of places.
In Chittagong division, Awami League-backed contenders also took the lead as they bagged 40 chairman posts while the BNP-backed contenders ensured 30 and Jamaat only 5.
In Khulna, Awami League-backed contenders bagged just the double chairman posts than the BNP-backed contenders as the ruling party bagged 36 chairman posts and the BNP-backed aspirants 18 and Jamaat-backed 5.
Interestingly, Jamaat also performed well in Bogra, the hometown of BNP founder Gen Ziaur Rahman, as it bagged five chairman posts while seven were grabbed by the BNP-backed candidates.
Regional political parties like the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) and the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF)-backed candidates bagged 13 chairman posts.
Source: Dhaka Tribune