Pressure mounted on AL thru’ NCC polls win

Anwar Hossain | Update:

Awami League (AL) leaders consider the Narayanganj city corporation elections as an achievement, but it has also poses as a challenge to their future politics.

It was necessary for AL to hold a credible election prior to forming a new election commission and also to prove popularity of the party. AL successfully emerged the winner, betting on the image and popularity of Selina Hayat Ivy as mayor in the elections.

After conducting the NCC polls fairly, the government is under pressure for continuing the trend as people perceived that the government can conduct a fair election if it wishes. AL also learnt through the election as to what kind of leaders should be chosen and who to be kept away.

AL presidium member health minister Mohammad Nasim said, “Our great achievement is holding of a good election. Now, removing the rest of our faults is a challenge for us. We would keep in mind (the NCC election) while selecting candidates for national elections.” AL would be in trouble if strong candidates like Ivy are not fielded in elections, Nasim said.

The 5 January parliament elections and allsubsequent elections under chief election commissioner Kazi Raqibuddin Ahmed were more or less controversial. The government was under pressure for demonstrating a fair election under the EC before the Election Commission expires in February. Local and foreign observers also were watching whether the environment and results of the NCC polls were credible.

However, president Abdul Hamid has already begun discussions with registered political parties over forming a new EC through consensus.

An AL central leader, on anonymity, said, “We have done the rehearsal (NCC polls) for the national elections of 2019. We have confidence that we can win the elections if we can field competent candidates like Ivy.”

Before finalising Ivy’s candidature, prime minister Sheikh Hasina ordered more than one survey in Narayanganj which indicated Ivy’s popularity.

Two senior AL leaders said the party had several calculations centring the election. Firstly, the government was eager to hold a fair election without the help of the army. Secondly, it wanted to prove the Democracy International’s survey that AL is ahead of BNP in terms of popularity. Thirdly, AL wanted to win the first ever city corporation election held under party symbols. The ruling party passed all the tests with the landslide win in the NCC polls.

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