Film stars, cricketers, and those who don’t have any post in the party also queued in to collect the nomination form of governing Bangladesh Awami League to contest in the next general election.

Cricketer Shakib Al Hasan, actress Mahiya Mahi, president Md Sahabuddin's son Mohammad Arshad Adnan, Jubo League central committee's suspended legal affairs secretary Sayedul Haque Sumon, journalist Naem Nizam and many others have collected the ruling party’s nomination forms to compete in the upcoming 12th parliamentary election.

Awami League started selling nomination forms to the aspirants who want to contest in the 12th general election. The forms can be collected and submitted till Thursday.

AL sources said many film stars are interested in collecting the ruling party’s nomination forms in the next two days. Some businesspersons who are not holding any post have also expressed their interests to get the ruling party nomination.

Among the interested film and TV stars whose names came to the fore include actors Ferdous, Alamgir, Siddiqur Rahman and actress Apu Biswas. Among the sports stars, Shakib Al Hasan’s chance to get the nomination is the most.

According to the AL policymaking sources, party leaders are showing more interest to collect nomination forms assuming that the BNP will not join the polls. Many of the nomination seekers are fairly certain about their victory once they could secure the party ticket.

Besides, talks are making rounds that many cabinet members and lawmakers might be left out this time. For this, more party leaders are hoping for nominations. Other than this, many rising leaders have been showing interest in nomination to highlight them to the party’s senior leaders.

Sources concerned said Awami League is also encouraging the party leaders to collect nomination forms for three reasons.

Firstly, the ruling party wants to highlight the popularity of the Awami League. Secondly, BNP and other opposition parties are not active in elections, and if more party leaders seek nomination, it will create a voting atmosphere; and thirdly, the party wants to reduce the prospective number of rival or independent candidates.

Shakib enters the fray

The former captain of the national cricket team, Naimur Rahman Durjoy was the first to become an MP on Awami League’s ticket from Manikganj in 2008. Another national cricket team captain, Masrafe Bin Mortaza, also became an MP of Awami League from Narail in 2018. He is also likely to secure a nomination this time too, hinted the policymakers.

Incumbent national team captain Shakib Al Hasan reportedly sought nomination from the Awami League in the last parliamentary election. But the party’s top brass, considering his cricket career, advised him to prepare for the future.

This time, Shakib Al Hasan through his representatives collected three nomination forms of Awami League to contest in Magura-1, Magura-2 and Dhaka-10 constituencies on Sunday, the first day of selling nomination forms.

Shakib Al Hasan is currently in the US. He could not be reached for a comment.

According to the AL sources, Shakib Al Hasan came to Dhaka from Sri Lanka in the middle of Asia Cup in September. He met Prime Minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina in the parliament complex and expressed his interest in contesting the 12th parliamentary election. In reply, the prime minister told him to pay attention to the Cricket World Cup. She also informed him that she would consider the nomination issue.

Speaking about the matter, a senior AL leader preferring not to be named said the prime minister has not said yes or no about the nomination of Shakib. However, she is positive over the matter.

The Awami League leader also said that the Awami League thought that Shakib could be given nomination for Dhaka-16 constituency. Ilias Uddin Molla is now the MP of this constituency.

However, Shakib wants to contest from Dhaka-10 constituency. Businessman Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin is now the MP of this constituency.

AL sources informed Prothom Alo that Shakib would buy two nomination forms for two constituencies from Magura as he has not received any confirmation of availing the nomination in Dhaka.

Film stars and newcomers

Actress Mahiya Mahi wants to contest from Chapainawabganj. She has collected nominations on the first day of starting selling the nomination papers.

Awami League insiders said she has little chance to get the “boat” symbol (electoral symbol of Awami League).

Earlier in February, when the BNP MPs resigned from parliament, the by-election was held to Chapainawabganj-2. Mahiya Mahi sought nomination in that election too, but she was denied.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Mahi said she bought the nomination form as the people in the locality want her. Now she has left the matter to the party.

Incumbent president Md Shahbuddin’s son Mohammad Arshad Adnan bought a form for Pabna-5 to get the boat symbol.

District Awami League general secretary Golam Faruk Prince is now the MP of this constituency.

According to the party sources, the district AL leaders did not like the activities of the president’s son to secure the nomination. They have already objected to the prime minister in this regard. It will be a great surprise if the party chief choses anyone else other than the general secretary of the district Awami League. However, if the president himself approaches the prime minister in this regard, his son may get the nomination.

High Court lawyer Syed Sayedul Haque alias Sumon has collected a nomination form from the Habiganj-4 constituency.  He came into limelight after criticising the Palong police station officer–in-charge (OC) in Shariatpur for chanting the slogan of the ruling Awami League. Later, he was relieved from the post of law affairs secretary of the central committee of the Jubo League. Civil aviation and tourism minister Mahbub Ali is the incumbent MP of this constituency.

Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naem Nizam has also collected the nomination form of the ruling party to contest the elections from Cumilla-10 constituency. Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is the incumbent MP of this constituency.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Naem Nizam said he collected the nomination form on the demand of the locals. The rest is in the hands of the prime minister.

The ruling Awami League has sold a total of 2,286 nomination papers in the last two days.

Awami League organising secretary Mirza Azam told Prothom Alo, “Awami League is a popular country. People from any profession may show interest in us. However, the prime minister will make the final decisions in this regard based on the popularity of the candidates.”

* This report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam, Galib Ashraf, Hasanul Banna and Ashish Basu