The Awami League has nominated Simeen Hussain Rimi, daughter of the country’s first prime minister Tajuddin Ahmad and elder sister of former state minister for home Tanjim Ahmad Sohel Taj, for contesting the Gazipur-4 (Kapasia) by-election slated for September 30.
The parliamentary board of the ruling party gave the nomination at a meeting at the Gono Bhaban last night, party General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam told journalists.
Earlier in the afternoon, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also AL president, visited the Banani residence of Syeda Zohra Tajuddin, presidium member of the party. She stayed there for more than an hour. The premier’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana was with her.
Rimi and her sister Mahjabin Ahmad Mimi were also present at the time.
While returning to the Gono Bhaban, Hasina took Rimi with her.
Asked about the visit, Ashraf said she (Zohra) has been ill for long, and the AL chief visited her to enquire about her condition.
The premier also sought Zohra’s opinion on nominating an AL candidate for the by-polls, Ashraf said.
“She [Zohra] mentioned Rimi’s name, and we took it with due importance,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jatiya Party, a key component of the ruling alliance, is now in a dilemma over contesting the Gazipur-4 by-polls separately, fearing “shameful” defeat in the AL stronghold, JP leaders told this correspondent yesterday.
The main opposition BNP has already declared it would not take part in any election during the tenure of the AL-led government and the present Election Commission.
The Gazipur-4 parliament seat fell vacant following the resignation of Sohel Taj as AL lawmaker on July 7. Earlier, he resigned as state minister on May 31, 2009.
Contacted yesterday, Rimi said that besides pressure from local AL leaders, party high-ups also wished her to contest the by-polls. This led her to decide to be a candidate.
A writer and social worker, Rimi also said she has been a primary member of the AL for several years.
JATIYA PARTY Some JP leaders said the party presidium on July 30 decided to contest the Gazipur-4 by-election to assess its popularity as it prepares to contest the next parliamentary elections independently.
“But now we are yet to get a strong candidate for the polls race against any of the prospective AL candidates, including Simeen Hussain Rimi,” a JP presidium member Ziauddin Ahmed told this correspondent yesterday.
Another presidium member of the party, Mujibul Haque Chunnu, mentioned that no AL candidate was ever defeated in this seat. “So, if our candidate cannot bag a considerable number of votes in the by-polls, it would be a shame for the party since our chairman [HM Ershad] has vowed to contest independently the next national polls,” he added.
The party, however, will take a final decision in this regard at its presidium meeting today, he said.
JP sources said three local JP leaders collected party nomination papers for contesting the by-polls, and the last date of submission of those was yesterday.
The three are businessmen Shamsuddin Ahmed, Mostafizur Rahman and Arifur Rahman.
Mostafizur Rahman is president of Kapasia upazila unit of JP.
Chunnu said the party chief and some other leaders wanted to nominate Brig Gen (retd) Kazi Mahmud Hasan, president of the party’s Gazipur district unit, as its candidate in the by-election.
“But, he [Hasan] expressed his reluctance to be a candidate,” Chunnu said yesterday.