Interview: Rangpur mayor

EVM not suitable for Bangladesh

Jatiya Party candidate Mostafizar Rahman after winning the mayoral polls in Rangpur City Corporation
Prothom Alo

Rangpur City Corporation saw the voting for third time on Tuesday. Jatiya Party (JaPa) candidate Mostafizar Rahman won as mayor for the second consecutive time. He talked to Prothom Alo’s Samsur Rahman and Ariful Haque at his residence on Wednesday afternoon about sufferings due to EVM (Electronic Voting Machine), ruling Awami League candidate’s massive defeat and rise of a party like Islami Andolan Bangladesh.


You have won for the second consecutive time at a huge margin. Was this possible due to the candidate’s popularity or electoral symbol ‘plough’ worked as a catalyst?

The electoral symbol is the face of the candidate. An electoral symbol plays an important role in elections. At the same time, voters do consider – how is the candidate. That’s why both the electoral symbol and the candidate are important. That was the case with the elections at Rangpur City Corporation.


Voters faced sufferings due to EVM all day long. There were allegations of slowness as well. Many people claimed vote casting would have been more if EVM was not used. What’s your evaluation of the use of EVM?

People of Rangpur are not accustomed to cast vote in EVM. Elderly and female voters suffered the most. EVM is faulty system. EVM is not suitable for voting in Bangladesh. At some place the fingerprint didn’t match, the device got hung at other place. Several candidates could not get expected number of votes because of the EVM. There is no scope of recounting the votes in EVM too.

Q :

The heat of clash at the central level of Jatiya Party is being felt in Rangpur too. Does it have any effect on this result?

There are fair-weather friends and touts in Jatiya Party too. Some of them dreams to be an MP by managing candidature of grand alliance somehow. The central Jatiya Party is running using its base in Rangpur. The centre would have little value if there were no JaPa in Rangpur. I fought as an activist of Ershad for the existence of electoral symbol ‘plough’. I can’t be a broker of anybody for power.


Everybody assumed the contest will be against ‘boat’ (electoral symbol of ruling Awami League) but the AL candidate became 4th. Islami Andolan’s candidate became 2nd getting nearly 50,000 votes. How would you evaluate this situation of ‘boat’ and the rise of Islami Andolan?

Awami League is in power for nearly 15 years on the trot. There are many associate bodies of the party. The candidate of ‘boat’ would have got 40,000 votes if only their leaders and activists cast vote for him. This is the failure of their leaders. They could not unite their leaders and activists. BNP-Jamaat did not contest in the elections. Islami Andolan’s candidate got their votes. There is nothing unusual behind so many votes ‘haat pakha (hand fan)’ secured.

Q :

You pledged many things in the election manifesto before being elected in the first time and this time. How much could you implement? What steps you would take in the future to implement the pledges?

I could complete almost 70 per cent of previous manifesto. Money was required to complete the remaining tasks. Money is required to acquire land for playground. This time also I pledged pro-people tasks. I will try to complete as many works I could do. Roads and drains will be contructed. I will also put emphasis on health sector. Shyamasundari Khal will also be taken back from the encroachers and its beautification will be done.

Q :

How would you evaluate the opinions of losing candidates in the future?

Rangpur is a city of people from all the parties and views, not the mayor’s alone. I’m calling up on all the parties to have their say in development works and help me. I respect other opinions. The development where everyone can participate is the actual development.

* The interview has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza