Trend of winning unopposed
According to information from election commission (EC), the third phase election is going to see victory of 100 chairman candidates uncontested while the numbers are 337 and 132 in general member and reserved seats. Earlier in first phase UP polls, 43 chairman candidates out of 160 union parishads were elected unopposed. In the second phase polls in 848 unions, 76 chairmen candidates won uncontested.
Local sources informed that 99 out of those 100 are Awami League candidates while the remaining one is a rebel candidate of the party. The only rebel candidate set to win unopposed is Md Jalal Mia in Solimabad union in Brahmanbaria’s Bancharampur. He is organising secretary of union Awami League. There are allegations that Awami League candidate Abdul Motin withdrew his candidacy under pressure. But Motin told Prothom Alo, “I’m very ill. It’s not possible for me to participate in the election.”
Chairmen and members in all 14 union parishads in Chattogram’s Raozan upazila are going to be elected unopposed. The candidates are leaders and activists of Awami League and followers of ruling party lawmaker ABM Fazle Karim Chowdhury. Also in the pourashava election this year and upazila parishad in 2019, the upazila did not need any voting to elect its representatives.
Raozan upazila Awami League president freedom fighter Kazi Abdul Wahab told Prothom Alo that no one was barred from contesting the polls. Local sources said no one dared to go against the decision of top leadership of local level Awami League.
In Brahmanbaria’s Bancharampur, 8 out of 11 union parishad are due to get chairmen who did not require people’s votes. None except Awami League candidates filed nomination in five unions. Candidates other than Awami League-supported ones withdrew from the race in two union parishads. And all except one ‘rebel’ candidate withdrew their nominations in one union.
At least four candidates said the local Awami League leaders forced them to withdraw candidacy at the behest of local MP.
The local MP AB Tajul Islam, however, denied the allegation saying no such situation was created in the upazila.
Relatives of influential leaders elected unopposed
Awami League candidates are going to win the election unopposed in five unions of Chandpur’s Matlab Uttar and Matlab Dakshin upazilas. Local sources said Shamsul Haque Chowdhury, who is becoming chairman unopposed in Mohonpur union of Matlab Uttar, is the elder brother of former relief affairs minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury (Maya). Nur Muhammad, who is set to become chairman uncontested from Fatehpur Paschim union, is elder brother of Chandpur-2 MP Md Nurul Amin Ruhul. Elamabad union’s chairman Shakhawat Hossain Sarker is the nephew of planning ministry’s state minister Shamsul Alam. Mokarram Hossain Khan, who is going to become chairman form Durgapur union, is elder brother of Jubo League general secretary Mainul Hossain Khan Nikhil.
Kazi Mizanur Rahman, Awami League leader of Mohonpur union in Matlab Uttar upazila, alleged that he failed to win party candidacy despite having qualifications and popularity. He said he could not contest due to political pressure and intimidation.
In Dhaka’s Keraniganj, 8 out of 11 union parishads are getting chairmen without voting. Candidates other than Awami League-backed ones have withdrawn their candidacy in these unions.
Areas with more rebel candidates
The number of rebel candidates is more in Narsingdi, Kushtia, Gopalganj, Brahmanbaria, Cumilla, Chuadanga, Sirajganj, Jhenaidah and Magura.
A total of 61 rebel candidates of ruling party are contesting in 22 union parishads in Narsingdi. Md Asadullah Bhuiyan, incumbent chairman of Mirzapur union in Raipur upazila, is running for the office as Awami League’s rebel candidate. He said he was also elected chairman as rebel candidate last time. He failed to get party nomination this time too.
BNP men also contesting
Opposition BNP is not taking part in the union election formally but many leaders and activists of the party are taking part in the election as independent candidates. Around 379 leaders and activists of the party are contesting in the third phase union polls. Among them, 33 are in Bogura, 28 in Naogaon, 21 in Sylhet, 20 in Kurigram, 19 each in Moulvibazar and Jashore, 17 in Lalmonirhat and 15 each in Thakurgaon, Dinajpur and Kushtia.
Bogura BNP’s convenor and lawmaker GM Siraj told Prothom Alo that no disciplinary action would be taken if any BNP leaders contest in the union parishad election.
* Staff correspondents and correspondents of the districts concerned have contributed to this report.