With the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) polls just 48 hours away, the people of the port city are anticipating a close fight between Awami League mayoral candidate Selina Hayat Ivy and independent candidate Taimur Alam Khondoker.
The candidates are going door to door on last-minute electioneering as campaigns are scheduled to end at midnight Friday.
They are trying to woo voters by making pledges while politically aware city voters are demanding the development of their beloved city.
Ivy is contesting the polls with Boat while Taimur is contesting the elections with Elephant as a symbol.
Taimur has lost his post at the advisory council of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia due to his participation in the election as BNP has boycotted the polls as a party.
Electioneering heated up last week when Ivy claimed that Taimur was backed by the Osman family.
Member of Parliament from Narayanganj 4 constituency, Shamim Osman, then held a press conference and announced his support for Boat in the polls. He said he would extend support to whoever was contesting from the Awami League.
Ivy responded to Osman’s statement saying she didn’t need anyone’s support as the people were all with her.
Awami League central leaders working for Ivy’s campaign told Dhaka Tribune on Thursday that party leaders and activists were working hard to ensure Boat’s victory in January 16 polls and that there was no misunderstanding within the party in this regard.
Taimur, on the other hand, thanked the BNP high command for relieving him of his party duties as now he was a free servant of the people.
Pledges by candidates
Ivy, a consecutive two-term mayor, has come up with a number of pledges. She wants to make Narayanganj a pollution and traffic-free modern city. She also wants to make the city a green one and construct a permanent dumping station.
She, as a long term plan, wants to improve the sewerage system of the city and link Narayanganj with Dhaka through metro rail.
“I have worked for the people of the city, going above all politics. I have faith in the people that they will vote for me,” said Ivy.
On the other hand, Taimur promised the development of NCC.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune on Thursday, he said: “If I get elected, at first I will reduce taxes for various services by the city corporation.”
“I am facing obstacles while carrying out campaigns. At least 17 of my supporters have been arrested within a few days. But I am hopeful that the people will vote for me if they are allowed to vote,” he added.
Other mayoral candidates include Rashed Ferdous from Bangladesh Kalyan Party, Sirazul Mamun from Khelafat e Majlish, Masum Billah from Islami Andolon and Jasim Uddin from Bangladesh Khelafot Andolon are also busy with their last-minute campaigning.
Thoughts of civil society
Talking to Dhaka Tribune on Thursday, Khelaghar district unit President Rathin Chakrabarty said: “The person who will work for the development of the city is the appropriate candidate in the polls.”
Another civil society member and a close ally of the ruling party candidate in the polls, Rafiur Rabbi said that Ivy has shown her performance in the development of the city in the last 10 years.
“I think Ivy will win again and will continue her good work for NCC,” he added.
On Sunday, six mayoral candidates, 34 councillor candidates in reserve wards for women and 145 councillor candidates in general wards will contest to secure their positions in the upcoming NCC administration. A total of 517,357 voters from 27 wards of NCC will cast their votes in this election.