Narayanganj City Polls: Personal images to be key factor
Voters in Narayanganj say personal images and track records of candidates will be key factors in the city mayor election.
“We are not considering what political affiliation or backings they have; we want to vote for the candidate who really deserves and have good records and pro-people intentions,” said Mohammad Hossain Sajjad, a businessman from Paikpara area.
The Daily Star yesterday talked with more than 150 people from all walks of life in Naryanganj.
Many residents talking to our correspondents said most candidates are giving people a range of pledges to gain support and votes. But this tactic will not work because, at the end of the day, voters will choose the best one for Narayanganj City Corporation mayor office.
The first-ever NCC polls are set to be held on October 30.
“We shall elect the credible candidate who has a clean image and whom we found beside us all the time,” Harun-ar-Rashid, a 45-year-old businessman said, hinting that his support would go to Selina Hayat Ivy, the only front runner without a criminal background. There is no corruption allegation against her either.
Habib Reza, 25, a hawker by profession, said, “If the people of Narayanganj do not cast their votes for Ivy, it would be tantamount to betrayal.”
“She has served people of Narayanganj for eight years and changed the face of the city,” said Nafis Sarder, a Dhaka University student and a voter from Chashara.
Meanwhile, the city corporation area has been adorned with thousands of festoons, banners and posters. Noisy loudspeakers mounted on rickshaws and vans marked the tenth day of the election campaign.
Mainuddin, a night guard from Chashara, said Ivy has a distinct edge over her competitors as her late father as a municipality chairman was very popular among the ordinary people.
Sunil Das, a sweeper of Tanbazar Poura Colony, said most of their community members have soft spot for Ivy as she did huge work for them.
“During her tenure as a mayor of the municipality she addressed the perennial problems of Narayanganj. Roads and drains were built to rid the city of waterlogging and this is why our community people really like her.”
Accompanying Shamim Osman in his election campaign in Bandar area, joint secretary of Narayanganj Chhatra League, Shah Nizamuddin Ahmed, widely known as someone who controls the lucrative jhut (garment leftovers) business there, said people are really happy that Shamim Osman is returning to Narayanganj as a victor.
Ivy during her term as the mayor of the municipality was involved in corruption, claimed Nizamuddin. “A vested quarter is spreading false allegations against our leader [Shamim] to get the war crimes trial postponed.”
Badal Uddin, a rickshaw puller said the best thing Ivy did was to repair roads. “We really suffered due to battered roads but once Ivy took office, she not only repaired those but also set up the drainage system,” he said.
Siraj Hossain, who lives at Rupaligate in Bandar area and the owner of a roadside tea stall, said deploying armed forces from the morning of October 28 to 11:00pm of November 1 in Narayanganj is a good decision. “Without the army we would not feel secure to cast our ballots freely.”
Monayem Khan, director of a buying house in Chashara, said compared to other two rivals, Ivy is very famous among the businessmen. “If the election is held neutrally, then Ivy will win but there is much chance of a farcical election,” he said.
Al-Amin, a garment businessman, said with two Awami Leaguers -- Shamim and Ivy -- contesting the polls, Taimur Alam Khandoker, the only candidate to get the backing of the opposition BNP, might find himself at an advantage.
“There is no chance of a fair election as the government is now concentrating on the next national polls. They [Awami League] need Shamim Osman because he is a person who can provide the party with both muscle and money. So top Awami League leaders in Dhaka will do anything to get him elected,” Al-Amin said, adding Ivy will not be able to give it that support.
If Shamim Osman emerges victorious in the election, Awami League will have full control over five constituencies in Narayanganj district and it is vital for the party in the next parliamentary polls, he added.
Akkas Hawlader, a trader who lives at Nitaiganj, said big and small traders in the area like Ivy as they think they will not face difficulties in doing business if she holds the mayor office.
Meanwhile, Selina Hayat Ivy yesterday complained to the returning offcer against one of her rival candidate of misconduct.
The followers of Shamim Osman tore down her posters on Sunday and Monday at wards 27, 5, 3, and 4 and festoons at Chashara, said Ivy to the correspondents of The Daily Star yesterday.
“We filed a written complaint with the returning officer in this regard today [yesterday]. Also, Shamim Osman's men have been threatening my campaign workers and supporters with life,” she said.
Contacted, returning officer, Biswas Lutfor Rahman said they have received the complaint. “We have asked our officers to investigate the matter and submit reports within 24 hours. We will take stern action if anybody is found guilty.”