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Mayoral aspirant Abdul Awal Mintoo

Mintoo disqualified in DNCC polls

WT24 Desk

The BNP now faces trouble in Dhaka North City Corporation election as its lone mayoral aspirant Abdul Awal Mintoo has been disqualified from the battle of ballots due to a procedural flaw in filing his nomination. The party, however, is in a comfortable situation in Dhaka South City Corporation. Two of its senior leaders — Mirza Abbas and Abdus Salam — were declared eligible in their mayoral bids. This keeps the BNP in the DSCC mayoral race against rival Awami League favourite Sayeed Khokon.

Mintoo, an advisor to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, lost his eligibility for contesting the DNCC polls by bringing in an unqualified voter to support his candidacy. According to the electoral law, a DNCC voter would have to propose his candidacy and another to support it. However, in Mintoo’s nomination, the supporter named Abdur Razzaque was a voter of Uttara Sector 12 under Harirampur union parishad, not within the DNCC area.

“His nomination paper was cancelled as the supporter of his nomination is not a voter of Dhaka North City Corporation,” Returning Officer (RO) Shah Alam told the press at his office in the capital. The decision took the BNP camp by surprise as they found it hard to believe that there could be such a “silly mistake” in the nomination paper of such a heavyweight candidate like Mintoo.

 BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia herself was “irritated and disappointed” over this, and had instructed Mintoo and her lawyers to work sincerely to make the appellate authority allow correcting the flaw, party insiders said.This, however, comes as a boon for the ruling party-blessed mayor contender Annisul Huq, whose nomination was declared valid yesterday. With the lone heavyweight rival out of the race, he now has to battle it out against 18 others, all of whom are relatively low profile.

Mintoo will appeal with the divisional commissioner, the appellate authorities, tomorrow against the cancellation, said Abdullah Al Harun Sohel, personal secretary of the BNP leader. Soon after the RO’s announcement, a BNP delegation met Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad and requested him to allow Mintoo to correct the procedural anomaly.

If Mintoo cannot return to the electoral race, the BNP do not have much alternative as no other BNP leader filed mayoral nomination in the DNCC like what they did in Dhaka South. In that case, the party may extend support to Mintoo’s son Tabith Awal, whose DNCC mayoral bid was accepted by the RO yesterday, said some BNP leaders. Some others, however, are in favour of backing Mahi B Chowdhury, son of former president Badruddozza Chowdhury. Mahi has been declared eligible for the mayor polls.

The BNP policymakers are expected to sit with Khaleda to finalise the issue, party insiders said.

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