Leaders of 16 small parties: Poor show but high hopes

Chiefs of seven out of the 16 parties participated in the last JS election. None won

With the Jatiya Sangsad polls less than a month away, 16 small parties have opted not to join any alliances. 

Most of these, almost completely dependent on their chiefs, have seen little success on their own before.  

But with the BNP out of the fight this time, they hope things will go their way with the AL leaving them some seats.

Their history, on the other hand, leaves little to write home about.

Chiefs of seven out of the 16 parties participated in the last JS election. None won. 

Aside from victory, the seven in total only gathered 60,893 votes. 

Of this, Syed Muhammad Ibrahim of the Bangladesh Kalyan Party, which had teamed up with the BNP,  alone received over 44,000 votes in the Chattogram-16 constituency. His rival candidate, Mustafizur Rahman of Awami League, bagged 1,75,357 votes.

Ibrahim’s previous JS polls history is not that impressive, either. 

In 2008, contesting from the Dhaka-8 seat, he only received 688 votes. 

In 2014, he did not participate in the polls. 

This time again, he plans to fight from Chattogram-16 and Chattogram-5.

Participating as the chief of an independent party, Ibrahim has a tough competition ahead. 

In Chattogram-5, he will be facing AL candidate Mohammad Abdus Salam and in Chattogram-16, AL candidate Mustafizur Rahman Chawdhury. But Ibrahim has high hopes for his party this time.

“We expect to win several seats if the elections are fair,” he told recently.

In 2008, the Kallyan Party participated in elections for the first time and obtained 21,609 votes across 39 constituencies, with all candidates losing their security deposits.

Other than Ibrahim, party chiefs of the Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), the Bangladesh Islami Front, the Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP), the Islamic Front Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Muslim League and the Bangladesh Khilafat Andolon also contested in the 2018 election.

Banking on hope

SM Abul Kalam Azad, president of BNF, received only 50 votes in the Dhaka-17 seat in that election. This time he will fight from the seat once again, facing off AL candidate and the incumbent MP for the seat Mohammad Ali Arafat. 

Jatiya Party (JaPa) Chairman GM Quader is also another candidate for the seat.

In 2014, Azad bagged the only JS election win in his career, when he was elected uncontested after the AL did not field any candidates for the Dhaka-17 seat and the then JaPa chairman the late Hussain Muhmmah Ershad withdrew his nomination.

Apart from Azad himself, his party has nominated 54 other candidates in different seats this time.

Low votes, high confidence

Bulbul Chowdhury, president of the  Bangladesh Muslim League (Bulbul), was the only candidate nominated by his party in the last JS polls. He received 228 votes in his home constituency Chattogram-1, losing the fight and his security deposit.

This time, the party has fielded candidates for five seats, including Zulfiqar in his constituency. He will be competing against Mahbub Rahman Ruhel, son of veteran AL leader Mosharraf Hossain for the seat. 

But Zulfiqar is confident that he will win if the election is held fairly.

“If the upcoming election is conducted fairly, I will secure my seat, and our candidates can compete strongly in the remaining four seats.”

Among other party chiefs, Islamic Front Bangladesh Chairman Sayed Bahadur Shah Mujaddedi had garnered 2,572 votes in the Chandpur-5 seats last time. 

Before that, in 2008, he received only 1,020 votes in the same seat, which is currently held by AL’s Rafiqul Islam. Rafiqul has won the seat in the last three JS polls. 

However, undeterred despite never winning, Mujaddedi has decided to contest from the seat in the upcoming polls once again.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Islami Front Chairman MA Matin, and the Bangladesh Supreme Party Chairman Syed Saifuddin Ahmed Maizbhandari both have bought tickets to contest for the seat Chattogram-2.

The seat is set for a heavy competition in the upcoming Jatiya Sangsad polls with the chief of the Tarikat Federation, JaPa candidate Shafiul Azam Chowdhury and AL candidate Khadizatul Anwar also vying for it. The seat is currently being held by Saifuddin Ahmed Maizbhandari who has consecutively won the seat in 2014 and 2018.

Bangladesh Khilafat Andolon Ameer Ataullah Hafezzi is contesting from Manikganj-1 for the first time. In the last JS polls, he contested from Dhaka-2 and garnered only 1,260 votes. This time he will be facing off against AL leader Abdus Salam.

Of all the chiefs of the 16 parties, the most successful one is Kader Siddiqui, the president of the Krishak Sramik Janata League. He has brought victories for his party’s several times. He has also snatched victories as an AL candidate.

This time he will be contesting against AL candidate Anupam Shahjahan Roy for the Tangail-8 seat. 

Chief of the Zaker Party, Gano Front, Bangladesh Jatiya Party (Motin) and Bangladesh Sanskritik Muktijote will not be contesting in the election due to several reasons, including ailing health and personal grounds.


The current chiefs of the Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM), the Trinomool BNP, the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Islami Oikya Jote will be participating in the upcoming polls with their party symbols for the first time. 

Shah Mohammad Abu Zafar, acting president of BNM, last contested in the Faridpur-1 constituency in 2008 as a BNP candidate and received 72,393 votes but lost the seat. 

He has been elected as an MP four times from different parties.

NPP Chairman Sheikh Salauddin Salu will make his debut with own party symbol from Thakurgaon-3. 

AL candidate Md Imdadul Haque and JaPa candidate Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, the incumbent MP, are also vying for the seat.

While NPP has no win in its bag in JS polls, the party has fielded candidates in 142 seats this time. 

“Our party is participating in the elections for the sake of developing and establishing democracy,” Sheikh Salauddin Salu told The Business Standard.

Islami Oikya Jote Chairman Abul Hasnat, son of the late Mufti Amini, will be contesting in the polls from Brahmanbaria-2 (Sarail-Ashuganj) seat against AL candidate Md Shahjahan Alam and JaPa’s Md Abdul Hamid.

Meanwhile, Trinomool BNP President Shamsher Mobin is eyeing the Sylhet-6 seat. He will contest against Nurul Islam Nahid, the incumbent MP for the seat. 

Shamsher Mobin, who had begun his political career with BNP from 2008, left the party in 2015. He later joined the Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh but left that too within a year and joined the Trinomool BNP in 2019.

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