UP polls: AL to go all out to secure victory

51 party candidates to be elected unopposed

Mahamudul Hasan and Ahammad Foyez

The Awami League has set highest priority on winning a maximum number of Upazila Parishad chairmen seats in the upcoming local polls as a test of its popularity among people.
Elections to the 4,275 UPs are going to be held for the first time through direct political party participation, in six phases, with the first phase on March 22 at 738 UPs.
‘Defeat in the UP polls will virtually be considered a defeat of the party. So we have asked the grassroots to invest all their efforts to ensure victories of party-nominated candidates,’ said a senior AL leader.
According to Election Commission officials, at least 51 chairmen aspirants nominated by the ruling party are set to be elected unopposed in the first phase of the elections. Twenty-five of these candidates have no opposition at their constituencies, while at another 26 unions, the nominations of all candidates, beside AL ones, were cancelled during scrutiny. The number of unopposed candidates is likely to increase on March 2, the last day for withdrawal of nomination papers.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party has claimed EC officials canceled the nomination papers of at least 44 aspirants nominated by the party, while at least 70 BNP aspirants failed to submit their nomination papers because of ‘obstacles’ created by AL men on February 22.
AL presidium member Mosharraf Hossain told New Age Saturday that they had instructed their chairmen candidates to highlight the ‘development activities’ of the government and the services it provided to the nation, during their campaign for the upcoming UP polls.
He said chairmen candidates have also been asked to mobilise voters’ support by extensively focusing on the ‘evil acts’ of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Mosharraf, also housing and public works minister, said they have taken a firm decision to strongly deal with the party’s rebel candidates to clear the path for party-nominated candidates.
‘We have decided to expel the local party leaders contesting the elections ignoring the party decision,’ he said.
AL organising secretary Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapan said the chairmen candidates have been asked to persuade voters to vote for them.
‘We have told the chairmen candidates to motivate voters by highlighting the government’s successes and making specific pledges for their respective constituencies,’ he said.

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