The Awami League’s grassroots-level leaders are lobbying hard with party high-ups and lawmakers of their areas for getting nomination for the upcoming Upazila Parishad elections to be held in five phases with the first phase taking place on March 10.
AL leaders, who have not got the blessings of the party’s top district leaders or lawmakers, are making a beeline for the party president Sheikh Hasina’s political office in the city and lodging complaints before the office secretary, Abdus Sobhan Golap.
In their protest notes, they have stated that though they are popular and are competent candidates for the UZ polls, district leaders have dropped their names deliberately. They even alleged that the AL’s lawmakers and district leaders have sent names of their relatives or near and dear ones instead of dedicated party leaders.
Talking to this correspondent, former joint general secretary of Kahalu Upazila AL, Musfiqur Rahman Kajol, said his district president deliberately sent only one name to the central leadership, though he was supposed to send at least three names of prospective candidates for the local body polls.
Kajol, also an aspirant candidate for the UZ chairman’s post, said: “I am now lobbying with the central leaders to get nomination. I will contest the polls even if I don’t get the party symbol, Nouka.”
He, however, claimed to have huge popularity in his area and expressed the hope that if the party nominates him to contest the polls, he will surely win.
AL central sub-committee member, Abdullah Al Mamun, who is an aspirant for the Munshiganj Sadar Upazila Parishad chairman’s post, said: “Yes, I am trying hard to get nomination. If I get it, I will surely win the polls. I have already collected party nomination forms to contest the polls.”
Wishing anonymity, another aspirant for the UZ chairman’s post, told this correspondent on Tuesday that many lawmakers of the party are interfering in the process of primary selection of prospective candidates for the polls, which is very unfortunate.
Seeking anonymity, an AL lawmaker said he is working with district leaders to select prospective candidates who are dedicated and who have popularity at the grassroots level, for the upcoming UZ elections.
However, AL leaders said those who have popularity and those who have worked hard to ensure victory of the party candidates in the December 30 elections would get priority in getting nomination for the upazila elections.
Talking about the selection process of party candidates to contest the upazila elections, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said: “Many AL leaders from the districts have sent names of single candidates, even though we told them to send at least three names of prospective party candidates. Under these circumstances, we will select our candidates on the basis of survey reports.”
Replying to a question on irregularities in sending names from the grassroots level to the central leadership, he said: “It is our party’s internal matter. We will resolve the issue at our local government nomination board meeting.”
Aspirant party candidates have started informal campaigning for the local body polls, and are highlighting the government’s success stories before the people.
They are also holding meetings with party men and carrying out mass contacts in their respective upazila.
Besides, the Awami League started selling nomination forms from Monday among those who want to contest the first phase of the upazila elections on party ticket.
According to the Election Commission, the staggered fifth Upazila Parishad elections will begin on Mar 10 with voting to be held in 87 upazilas of 12 districts under Rangpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi divisions in the first phase.
The last date for submitting nomination papers for the first phase is February 11, while that of withdrawal is February 19.
The second phase of the Upazila Parishad elections is scheduled to be held on March 18, while the third phase on March 24, the fourth phase on March 31 and the fifth phase on June 18.
The first phase of the local body elections will be held in all upazilas of Panchagarh, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat and Rangpur districts under Rangpur division, all upazilas in Jamalpur and all upazilas of Netrakona district except Atpara upazila under Mymensingh division, all upazilas of Sunamganj district except Jagannathpur upazila and all upazilas of Habiganj district except Shayestaganj upazila in Sylhet division, all upazilas of Sirajganj, Joypurhat, Natore and Rajshahi districts under Rajshahi division.
Upazila Parishad elections were held in a day in 1990 and 2009 after the local government body was formed in 1985.
In 2014, elections to 487 upazilas were held in six phases between February and May. According to the electoral law, election to any upazila council has to take place at least six months before the tenure of the local government body expires.