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BNP aspirants engaged in mudslinging

Mayma Ching claims to be ‘fittest’ candidate while Zeri vows to run independent in Bandarban Shantimoy Chakma, back from Bandarban
The Daily Star, October 03, 2006

Intra-party feud in Bandarban district BNP widened further as Saturday’s scheduled party council could not be held due to rival factions’ stand-off.

The council was planned to resolve the years-long dispute but it was not held despite the rival factions’ written agreement and promise to party high-ups to hold it on the scheduled date, party sources said.

One faction is led by district BNP president and Bandarban District Council Chairman Mayma Ching and the other by senior party leader and former local government council chairman Sachin-gpru Zeri.

The feud has intensified now as the factions are blaming each other for violating the agreement.

Political circles in Bandarban said the feud in BNP has made Awami League’s chance of bagging the parliamentary seat for the fourth time in the coming election.

AL’s Bir Bahadur won the seat in 1991, 1996 and 2001 elections due to itra-party feud in BNP, they said.

He is likely win the coming election again if the feud in BNP can nor be mended, they said.

Dedicated leaders and activists of the party have become frustrated as resolution of dispute between the factions has become uncertain, party sources said.

On August 31, leaders of the feuding groups signed an agreement on a stamp to hold the council on September 30. They also met with BNP secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuyan and assured him of resolving the dispute at the September 30 council.

It was stated in the August 31 agreement that all the leaders and councilors would select their candidate for the coming election through secret ballot at the September 30 council.

The agreement also provided that the rival factions would refrain from criticising and accusing each other on different issues, party sources said.

“But none is abiding by the agreement”, a senior party leader told this correspondent yesterday seeking anonymity.

“They met with Mannan Bhuiyan in Dhaka recently”, he said. BNP leader Moazzem Hossain Alal MP came to Bandarban during party’s founding anniversary programmes and held a meeting with leaders of the feuding groups to mend the differences but he failed, the sources said.

Talking to this correspondent, Mayma Ching claimed that she is the fittest candidate to get nomination as she polled much higher votes than two other party candidates in previous elections.

“I am optimistic about getting nomination because I am in the mainstream of BNP for long.

“I lost to Awami League candidate with a narrow margin (853 votes) in last election. In 1991 and 1996 elections, our candidates KS Pru and Sachingpru Zeri lost to AL with big margins”, she said.

Replying to a question, Mayma Ching said, “I am always ready to hold party council. But our party high command is yet to give any directive in this regard”.

She alleged that district BNP secretary Kazi Mohitul Hossain and senior vice-president Zeri are engaged in making false propaganda against her.

“We are not violating the agreement. The Zeri-Mohitul faction is violating the agreement by making false propoganda”.

She however said she will work for the party nominee.

Sachingpru Zeri, senior district BNP leader and son of Bomang Circle chief King Aungsui Pru Chowdhury, blamed Mayma Ching for not taking any step to hold party council despite a ‘verbal directive’ by party secretary Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan. As district BNP president she should call a council, Zeri said.

“She keeps us out of all party activities”, he alleged.

” Mayma Ching is not holding council fearing defeat as two-thirds of the party men are in my favour. All our activists are in favour of holding of council,” Zeri claimed.

“I am hundred per cent sure that the party high command will give me nomination in the coming election. If party high-ups mistakenly give nomination to Mayma Ching, I will contest as an independent candidate from the constituency”, Zeri said.

Zeri contested the 2001election as independent candidate and got 14000 votes while Mayma Ching was defeated by AL candidate Birbahadur by only 853 votes. Bir Bahadur got 39,000 votes.

Party sources said the feud between Sachinpru Zeri and Mayma Ching, the two key leaders in Bandarban BNP, persists for 16 years. Bandarban district BNP was divided into two groups in 1990.

The two groups worked together in the last Banadarban municipality election but fell apart when the AL candidate won the 2001 election.

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