Narayanganj, Oct 31 (bdnews24.com)—Shamim Osman, the Awami League-backed mayoral contender, has warmly greeted his rival Selina Hayat Ivy who has been elected the Narayanganj City mayor.
In a sharp reversal to his previous claims of irregularities in the vote, Shamim said on Monday the election was free and fair.
The announcement apparently gave some relief to the high-ups of the ruling party that made many confusing and disputed steps to choose a candidate for its backing.
"The election was fair. Greetings to Ivy. I'll be on her side forever as an elder brother," Shamim told a news conference, the first after the results were announced Sunday night.
He promised to help the new mayor in her efforts to develop the new city.
An hour before Shamim's press conference, Ivy told bdnews24.com that she wants to work with Shamim and BNP-backed Taimur Alam Khandaker, who had boycotted the election in the last minute on his party's orders in protest at the fact that army was not deployed.
Shamim also withdrew the complaints he made during the election on Sunday. "I have no complaint against anyone."
On Sunday noon, he alleged that votes had been rigged with black money and that a section of his own party was endorsing the move.
"I raised many allegations including against police during the day of election. Those were not true. The complaints were coming from different sources. I am withdrawing them.
He said he had made the allegations on hearing those from his supporters and added, "I did not check them all," he said on Monday.
Ivy defeated Shaim by 101,343 votes. She polled 180,048 votes in 163 polling centres while Shamim secured 78,705 votes.
Shamim, clad in a white Panjabi and looking exhausted and downbeat, tried to wear a smile.
He said there are many things to learn from the defeat. "Thanks to those who voted for me. I was, I am and I will be in politics."
"It's true that I could not win the election. But above all, it's true that prime minister Sheikh Hasina and my party have won. Because many thought that it would not be possible to hold fair election under the current government," he added.
The former Narayanganj MP said, "The election was held in a festive mood. Democratic mandate has been established."
He also expressed his hope that the new mayor will be able to fulfil her election promises.
"Ivy is my mayor, too. I'll provide her help if she needs, whether Ivy wants or not," he added.
About the allegations he made on Sunday, Shamim said, "There are some pains, proofs and documents which will only create debate."
"I went to perform ablution beside a pond. Those (pains, proofs and documents) fell in the water. Leave these matters," he added.
Shamim said he was sorry if his behaviour had hurt the other candidates.
"I have no enmity with anyone in personal life. But there were clashes with many when I went to politics. I am sorry if anyone got hurt by my words."
He took a swipe at the media. "Many made a terrorist out of all the people of Narayanganj in their attempt to portray me as a terrorist. But the people of Narayanganj are not terrorists. Narayanganj will be developed as a valley of peace."
"The dream I have will be fulfilled. The graves of my father and grandfather are in Narayanganj. I'll be buried in this city, too. I want to work with all for Narayanganj's development," he added.
Asked whether the defeat will impact his political life, Shamim said, "Politics is like waves. It rises sometimes and falls afterwards."