Chittagong loss creates rift in Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League

June 19th, 2010 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, June 19 (IANS) Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League’s loss in the all important Chittagong city corporation polls has triggered differences within the party with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulating the opposition-backed winner, calling it a “victory of democracy”.
Hasina’s arch rival and opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) scored a major upset when its candidate Mohammad Manjur Alam was elected mayor of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Friday.

He defeated Awami League-backed incumbent A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury by the largest ever margin of votes in the corporation’s history.

The defeat was humiliating for the Awami League that has scored victories in all by-elections since it swept to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority in in January 2009.

The League finished with 17 seats behind the BNP’s 21, with BNP ally Jamaat-e-Islami winning two.

Chowdhury was the first elected mayor of the port city and had been in the post for 17 years. Manjur bagged 479,145 votes defeating Mohiuddin by 95,528 votes.

While Hasina and her party were quick to congratulate the winners, calling it “victory of democracy”, Chowdhury accused the Election Commission and the Chittagong administration of “engineering” his defeat.

However, The Daily Star said: “Domineering attitude, rudeness, failure to win party ranks’ confidence, low turnout and his rival’s clean image are believed to have ended Mohiuddin Chowdhury’s 17-year mayoral rule in the port city.”

Some local leaders put it down to allegations of corruption and nepotism and division among minority communities. The port town has a significant Hindu population.

Zia congratulated the people of Chittagong for “thwarting the conspiracies of the ruling party and their move to protract their dictatorship in a Nazi manner”.

BNP senior joint secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said “the election in Chittagong was fair as the military was deployed there”.

“Had the military been deployed in Bhola, where a parliamentary by-election was held last month, the BNP would have swept the polls there too,” he said.

Low turnout of young voters and inactivity of ruling Awami League workers made it only easier for Manjur to rout his once mentor Mohiuddin.

Political analysts say the scene now shifts to the nationwide strike that Zia has called against the Hasina government June 27.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |