Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan
Prothom Alo

Bangladesh national ODI cricket team Shakib Al Hasan has spawned new discussion in the political field of Magura. Three nomination forms of Awami League were bought on behalf of Shakib on Saturday. Two of these were for contesting in the upcoming polls from two constituencies in his hometown Magura. Shakib’s move has become talk of the town in Magura among ruling party men as well mass people.

In immediate reaction, the AL leaders said they have not seen Shakib taking part in the in any political activities ever but party president Sheikh Hasina has the final decision over selecting candidate .

The rumour of Shakib’s joining the politics has been there since the last general election. Shakib showed interest to buy AL’s nomination form to contest from Magura-1 electoral constituency in 2018 but decided otherwise the last moment. This time he has bought nomination forms for contesting in Magura-1, Magura-2 and Dhaka-10.

One relative of Shakib yesterday told Prothom Alo, “Nomination forms have been collected. Shakib is abroad. He will submit the nomination forms after returning home.”

Shakib’s home is in the town’s Shahapara which is under Magura-1 constituency. Magura-1 parliamentary seat consists of one pourashava of Sadar upazila, nine union parishads and Shreepur upazila. Saifuzzaman Shikhar is the current lawmaker of this seat. Most of the top leaders of the ruling AL are known as close to Shikhar. To them, Shakib’s decision to buy the nomination form from this constituency is unexpected.

I think he does not even have the primary membership of Awami League. Grassroots leaders of the party will be upset if he is given the nomination of the party
Abdul Mannan, Sadar upazila AL’s general secretary

Sadar upazila AL’s general secretary Abdul Mannan told Prothom Alo on Sunday, “I think, none including me, my president or other leaders of the party were aware that he bought the nomination form. I’ve been involved with Awami League politics since last 34 years. In all these years, I haven’t seen Shakib or any other of his family members’ involvement with Awmai League politics. They don’t seem to have any contribution to this party.”
Shreepur upazila AL general secretary Humaunur Rashid Muhith also has the similar opinion.

“I think he does not even have the primary membership of Awami League. Grassroots leaders of the party will be upset if he is given the nomination of the party,” he said.

Shakib also bought nomination form for Magura-2 which consists of four union parishads, Shalikha and Mohammadpur upazilas. Former state minister for youth and sports ministry Biren Shikder is the lawmaker of this constituency.

Shakib’s interest to contest also created a buzz in that seat too.

Shalikha upazila AL’s president Shyamol Kumar Dey told Prothom Alo, “The issue of nomination is on the hand of the leader (AL president Sheikh Hasina). We’ll have to work for whom she nominates. I don’t know about other places, but in my cognizance Shakib does not have any political activities or connection with anyone in this Shalikha upazila. Yet we would work if any star from the sky falls on us here. That’s not a problem.”

Locals said ruling party factions are there in these two constituencies who are disgruntled on the current lawmakers. They want change on candidates in their respective seats. But none of these ruling party men are taking direct stance in favor of Shakib. They think if Shakib competes from any of the two seats of Magura, he will win huge support of mass people alongside AL men.

It would be good if an international superstar like Shakib becomes a candidate here
Kutubullah Hossain Mia, former Jubo League president of Shreepur upazila

Shreepur upazila Jubo League’s former president and Shreekol Union Parishad’s former chairman Kutubullah Hossain Mia told Prothom Alo, “It would be good if an international superstar like Shakib becomes a candidate here. Everyone does not have to be involved with politics. If the leader wants, I don’t see any problem here. The result would come to Awami League’s favor if the candidate is changed here.”

Asked about the issue, Magura district AL’s president AFM Abdul Sattah told Prothom Alo, “Anyone can buy nomination form. But we think those who have the experience to work dedicatedly for the party for a long time, were involved with Awami League politics since student life, those who are pro-Liberation War should get the party nomination. We’re not aware of his (Shakib) involvement with working for people or any political party.”

He added that AL president would understand better as to who should get the party nomination as she has all the information.