Awami League’s Taposh wins Dhaka South mayoral race

Awami League candidate Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh has been elected the Dhaka South City Corporation mayor with a huge margin amid a low turnout.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 1 Feb 2020, 07:06 PM
Updated : 1 Feb 2020, 08:02 PM

He bagged 424,595 votes with ‘Boat’ in all 1,150 polling stations.

His closest rival Ishraque Hossain, the BNP-endorsed candidate, polled 236,512 with ‘Paddy Sheaf’.

Returning Officer Abdul Baten announced the results at Dhaka's Shilpakala Academy around 12:40am on Sunday after the polling held between 8am and 4pm on Saturday.

The turnout was a little over 29 percent with 711,488 valid votes cast. Dhaka South has nearly 2.5 million voters.

The returning officer stopped announcing the results around 10:45pm after the results from 1,075 centres arrived.

Taposh was leading the race with 399,695 votes at the time while the number of votes Ishraque drew was 219,027.

“Many presiding officers sent results manually. We also had to take the results manually from those who made mistakes in sending the results using tabs [tablet PCs],” Baten explained.

The BNP has already rejected the results. It called a shutdown for Sunday in protest against “horrific vote rigging, forgery and intimidation”

Both Taposh and Ishraque were new faces in the race.

Son of Fazlul Haque Mani, one of the key organisers of the Liberation War, Taposh is a lawyer and former MP.

Ishraque’s father late Sadeque Hossain Khoka was the last mayor of the undivided Dhaka City Corporation.

Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, the Awami League-backed mayoral candidate for Dhaka South, casts his vote at Dhanmondi's Kamrunnesa Government Girls High School on Saturday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

The other candidates in the South were the Jatiya Party's Mohammed Saifuddin Milon, the Islami Andolan's Md Abdur Rahman, the Gonofront's Abdus Samad, Bahrane Sultan Bahar, and Md Akhtaruzzaman.

FROM MP TO MAYOR

Taposh had to resign as the Dhaka-10 MP before submitting his nomination by the Awami League to the Election Commission a year after winning the parliamentary polls for the third time.

Earlier, he beat outgoing Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, who was criticised for the outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, in the race for the ruling party’s ticket for the post.

Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina had also recently made Taposh’s brother Sheikh Fazle Shams Parash the chairman of its youth front Jubo League, tasking Parash with freeing the organisation from casino scam ignominy.

Being a member of parliament limits the scope for working for development in the city corporation area, Taposh had told bdnews24.com in an interview, explaining his reasons for contesting in the mayoral election leaving the job of MP.

Ishraque Hossain, the BNP-endorsed mayor candidate for Dhaka South, cast his vote at Gopibagh's Shaheed Shahjahan Primary School centre on Saturday.

“The city of Dhaka is not developing at the same pace the country is developing. The people in the city are still deprived of many civic amenities, a fact that troubles me,” he had said.

A developed Bangladesh envisioned by Prime Minister Hasina “will need a developed capital which should be our Dhaka city”, Taposh had said.

He pledged to restore Dhaka to its full glory as a “traditional, beautiful, vibrant, well-governed and developed” city while preserving its heritage in his manifesto.

He also promised to clamp down on illegal encroachment of canals and other water bodies in the city.

Improving the city's waste management system, drainage system, water reservoir and addressing the issue of waterlogging are also high on Taposh's mayoral agenda.

The lawyer defended Hasina in a number of cases. Taposh was also a counsel in the case over the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, most other members of the family and many of their relatives, including Taposh’s father Sheikh Mani and mother Arju Mani.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher