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Bnp Rift Widens As Moni Joins Ldp

SQ Chowdhury eyes Rangamati constituency Shantimoy Chakma, Rangamati
The Daily Star, October 31, 2006

Rift in Rangamati district BNP has widened with a party stalwart from Chittagong joining several contenders for alliance ticket from the hill district in coming election. They have already started campaign, displaying posters, meeting people and holding party workers’ meeting.

Salauddin Qauer Chowdhury, former parliamentary affairs advisor to the prime minister will seek nomination from Ranbgamati, party sources claimed. His posters have appeared at different areas of the district.

They claimed that the rift widened as Khaleda Zia did not declare any party candidate from this constituency during her visit to CHT last month though, at a public meeting in Khagrachhari, she announced the name of Wadud Bhuiyan as alliance candidate from there.

They said joining of former deputy minister for CHT affairs Moni Swapan Dewan to newly formed Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) contributed to widening of the rift in the 4-party alliance in Rangamati. BNP may face a crisis in finding a ‘competent’ candidate, political circles observed.

Sources close to Moni Swapan said he left BNP as the party ignored him during last five years.

As per provisions of the CHT peace accord, Moni was supposed to be full minister for CHT affairs, but the government made him deputy minister. This aggrieved him, they claimed.

Party high-ups neglected Moni Swapan as he raised his voice for full implementation of the accord. Future of BNP in Rangamati has now become uncertain after Moni’s joining the LDP, they claimed.

“We eagerly waited for Khaleda Zia’s announcement regarding party nominee from Rangamati. But we were frustrated”, a senior BNP leader said seeking anonymity.

Appearance of Salauddin Quader’s posters under the banner of Samo Odhikar Andolan (SOA) has surprised many of us, he said. Samo Odhikar Andolan is a platform of Bangali settlers formed by Wadud Bhuiyan after the 4-party alliance came to power in 2001 election.

The political scenario will be complicated if Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, vies for nomination from Rangamati, BNP leaders said.

District BNP president Md Nazim Uddin, claiming himself to be the most competent candidate and a dedicated leader, is seeking nomination.

There are other contenders in BNP. Talking to this correspondent, party’s district secretary M Zahir Ahmed said, “I am holding the post of secretary for 18 years. My contribution is greater than any other leader. I will seek nomination and I think party high-ups will consider”.

Asked about Salahudding K Chowdhury, Zahir said, “I don’t want to make any comment about other aspirants because it is completely their desire and party’s decision”.

Nazimuddin Ahmed’s son district JCD president Mamunur Rashid Mamun also expressed his desire to vie for nomination. “I will seek nomination. Young leaders should some forward to lead the party. Party high-ups will take the right decision”, Mamun added.

Moni Swapan Dewan could not be contacted over cell phone despite repeated atrtenpts.

Nazimuddin and Parijat Kusum Chakma were defeated by Awami League candidates in 1991 and 1996 general elections respectively. But AL candidate Dipankar Talukder lost to four-party alliance candidate Moni Swapan Dewan in 2001 election.

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