Both ruling Awami League and its rival BNP have picked new faces for Sylhet-1 constituency which has always been considered as the general election bellwether for the parties since 1991.
The AL has nominated former diplomat AK Abdul Momen, younger brother of Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who earlier had announced not to contest the upcoming polls. In the battle of ballots, Momen will face Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, an advisor to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and former chairman of privatisation board.
The BNP also picked Abdul Muktadir Chowdhury, a Sylhet district unit leader, as a backup candidate.
The Sylhet-1 seat is considered to be a magic lamp. Every party that had won this constituency since the restoration of democracy in 1991 went on to form the government.
In the February 1991 election, the BNP won Sylhet-1 and formed the government. Five years later, an AL candidate won the seat, paving the way for the party to return to power 21 years after the violent overthrow of the Bangabandhu government in 1975.
In 2001, the BNP defeated its archrival in this constituency and swept back to power. The 2008 parliamentary election was no exception. The AL candidate AMA Muhith won the seat and the party formed the government. Muhith retained the seat in the January 5, 2014, parliamentary polls.
This time, Muhith will not contest the upcoming parliamentary election. Instead, his brother Momen, a former diplomat, got party nomination to run the election.
Both Momen and Enam are contesting the polls for the first time.