Gazipur 1 constituency: Awami League conflicted, BNP hopeful, Jatiya Party planning revival
With a large number of voters and the presence of several important political figures, this constituency will play an important role in the upcoming election
Gazipur 1 constituency, the 194th seat in the parliament, has a large number of voters due to the area’s flourishing industry.
Comprising Kaliakoir upazila, the constituency will play an important role in the upcoming 11th national election; this is due to the presence of several influential political figures seeking nominations from their respective parties.
Bearing in mind the 640,152 voters of nine unions and one municipality of Kaliakoir – and Kashimpur Konabari and Basan unions of nearby Gazipur Sadar – hopeful candidates from ruling party Awami League, BNP, and Jatiya Party have already started campaigning.
Other than regularly keeping in contact with senior central leaders, the potential candidates have also increased their communication with grassroots-level leaders, and activists, in the hopes of clinching a nomination.
Awami League wants candidates from Kaliakoir
Although the constituency is made up of a single upazila, Kaliakoir, Awami League has not nominated anyone of the upazila in the last 36 years.
Before the constitutency was divided, the ruling party nominated candidates from Sreepur; afterward, they nominated those from Gazipur.
Local leaders and general voters, alike, have demanded the party nominate a local leader this time around.
Aside from the current MP, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, Kaliakoir upazila parishad Chairman Rezaul Karim Rasel, President of upazila Awami League Kamal Uddin Sikder, and member of Gazipur city Awami League SM Shafiqul Islam Babul are the other candidates hoping to be nominated.
In the past, when the Gazipur 1 seat consisted of both the Kaliakoir and Sreepur upazilas, influential Awami League leader, Advocate Rahmat Ali, won the seat numerous times.
Later, in the 2008 elections – after Gazipur 1 was divided to only contain Kaliakoir upazila – the current Liberation War Affairs Minister and President of Gazipur district Awami League AKM Mozammel Huq won; by beating opposition party BNP candidate Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiqui, by a large margin.
After BNP boycotted the 2014 elections, and Jatiya Party candidate Khandaker Abdus Salam withdrew his nomination, Mozammel was re-elected, uncontested, by the constituency.
In conversation with the Dhaka Tribune, Mozammel said: “I won the last two elections with the cooperation of party leaders and activists. I am hopeful to secure a nomination this time as well.”
President of Kaliakor upazila Awami League Kamal Uddin Sikder gained popularity among the locals after undertaking several development activities as the upazila chairman.
Kamal – who played an integral role in holding the party together during its dire time – told this correspondent: “The voters of Kaliakoir want to see a local leader win the constituency, this time around. I hope the party will nominate me, so that I can keep on working for the people.”
On the other hand, Kaliakoir upazila parishad Chairman Rezaul Karim Rasel said: “Kaliakoir wants a change of leadership. For a long time, no one from Kaliakoir could represent this constituency.
“I am seeking a nomination so that I can comply with the demands of the people and work for them,” he said.
BNP hopes to reclaim seat
Expelled member of the BNP standing committee, Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiqui, held the Gazipur 1 constituency for a period of only three months after winning, uncontested, in the past.
After he was expelled, President of Gazipur district BNP Kazi Sayedul Alam Babul took the helm of the party. He is one of the candidates hoping to be nominated in the 11th national polls.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Babul said: “It became extremely difficult for senior leaders to campaign in the last election—after numerous cases were lodged against them when they wanted to engage in electoral activities.
“Police just used to put them in jail,” he alleged. “However, I held the party together even after enduring all that.”
He hopes the party will recognize his efforts and nominate him.
The other potential candidates from BNP are General Secretary of Kaliakoir upazila BNP Md Helal Uddin, President of municipality BNP Humayun Kabir Khan, and municipality Mayor Mujibur Rahman.
Jatiya Party planning revival
When Hussain Muhammad Ershad was in power, the Vice-Chairman of the party, Matiur Rahman, won the Gazipur 1 constituency, twice.
However, the party was since unable to clinch a victory.
This time, central Vice-Chairman of the party Khandaker Abdus Salam will stand as the sole candidate for this constituency.
To revive Jatiya Party’s political presence in the upazila, Salam, in conjunction with all leaders and activists of the party, has already started campaigning in the area.