March 1, 2024, 4:42 pm

Kazi Mobarak Hossain

2023-11-28 22:10:58 BdST

Legacy politicsVeteran AL leaders pass baton to their sons for upcoming national polls

(From top left) Rasheq Rahman has secured the Awami League’s nomination for the Rangpur-5 constituency, Mahboob Rahman for Chattogram-1, Mazharul Islam for Thakurgaon-2 and Sulaiman Salim for Dhaka-7. All four are the sons of prominent Awami League leader

After serving seven terms as a lawmaker from Chattogram-1, Awami League stalwart Mosharraf Hossain has decided not to run for re-election in the upcoming 12th national polls.

The 80-year-old politician has been grooming his son, Mahboob Rahman Ruhel, as his successor for the seat in recent years.

The Awami League acknowledged the senior leader's decision, entrusting his son with the responsibility of continuing to build upon his father's legacy.

Mosharraf has consistently enjoyed popularity in his Chattogram seat since his entry into politics as a member of the East Pakistan Provincial Council in 1970. Following his participation in the 1971 Liberation War, he successfully secured victories in 1973, 1986, 2008, 2014, and 2018.

His sole electoral defeat came in 1996 when BNP chief Khaleda Zia edged him out, though he later reclaimed the seat in a by-election.

His son Mahboob is a businessman and film producer, who boasts accolades such as the Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Film and Best Screenplay for the film "No Dorai" in 2019.

As the founder and chairman of Show Motion Ltd, which owns the Star Cineplex movie theatres, he holds a degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an MBA from Aalto University Executive Education.

Currently serving as the managing director at Sayeman Beach Resort, Mahboob said he is committed to honouring the trust placed in him by both his father and the Awami League.

"My father has passed on the electoral responsibilities to me, demonstrating his trust. I've been his right hand in the past two parliamentary elections, gaining political insights from him. He has entrusted me with this duty, and party chief Sheikh Hasina has shown faith in me with this nomination."

Discussing his political journey, Mahboob continued, "My involvement in politics spans 20 years, beginning with collaborating with freedom fighters' children in my locality. In the last 15 years, I've focused on environmental and anti-drug activities with the youth. Since half the voters are young, I am confident in securing the majority of their votes."

At the age of 82, HN Ashequr Rahman has chosen to step back from politics -- a run which started with victory as an Awami League candidate from the Rangpur-5 constituency in 1986 and saw him take part in seven elections. He has nominated his son, Rasheq Rahman, as his successor for the seat, a decision accepted by the Awami League.

Ashequr initially won a parliamentary seat from Mithapukur in Rangpur during the Jatiya Party's rule in 1986. Despite setbacks in the 1991 and 1996 elections, he won a by-election when former president HM Ershad vacated his seat. Although he lost in 2001, Ashequr secured victories in the last three elections, marking a decline in the influence of the Jatiya Party in the area.

Following in his father's footsteps, Rasheq joined the Awami League's Central Publicity and Publication Sub-Committee in February 2021.

Prior to that, he served as the assistant secretary of the party's central sub-committee and is also part of the Rangpur district committee. Rasheq has gained significant visibility through appearances on multiple television talk shows over time.

Actively involved in both politics and business, Rasheq serves as the chief executive officer of Software Solutions and Logistics Enterprise and the managing director of GenVac BD Limited and Meghna Bank Limited.

Rasheq also holds a directorial post at Trade X Securities Ltd in the capital market. He did not comment on running for his father's parliamentary seat.

Dabirul Islam, a seven-time MP representing the Thakurgaon-2 constituency, had requested a nomination to contest the upcoming national polls. However, the ruling party has chosen to nominate his son, Mazharul Islam, instead.

Born in 1948, Dabirul has a long political history, initially as a left-wing politician winning elections in 1986 and 1991 as a Communist Party of Bangladesh candidate.

In 1996, he joined the Awami League and secured victories in five parliamentary elections from 1996 to 2018.

Now at 75 and facing health issues, Dabirul, following the release of the Awami League's nomination forms, saw three other family members express interest in becoming candidates.

His eldest son, Mazharul, who secured nomination for the seat, has been involved in politics for many years and serves as the organising secretary of the Thakurgaon District Awami League and as a teacher.

Dabirul's other sons are also active in politics, with his younger son, Mohammad Ali, serving as the Upazila chairman. His nephew, Ali Aslam Jewel, holds the position of Baliadangi Upazila Parishad chairman and Upazila Jubo League general secretary, and also sought the nomination.

On Nov 22, the deadline for form submissions, signs of potential shifts in the Awami League's nominations emerged as Dhaka-7 MP Haji Mohammad Salim and his two sons filed their nomination forms.

Originally a member of the BNP, Haji Salim applied for the party's nomination in 1996 but was turned down, leading him to switch to the Awami League, where he won an election.

Following a close defeat in 2001 and not being nominated for two elections, he ran as an independent in 2014, winning against the Awami League's Mustafa Jalal Mohiuddin. He later rejoined the Awami League and ran again under their banner in the 11th parliamentary election.

Amid concerns about Salim's MP status following a jail sentence for corruption, he put forward his sons, Sulaiman Salim and Irfan Salim, for Awami League nominations.

Sulaiman has been frequently seen in political activities with his father and is involved in managing their family business.

"My father, a three-time MP, has devoted himself to helping our community and backing Awami League members through the good times and the difficult ones," he said.

"Having learnt politics from him, I intend to carry on his legacy and the spirit of the Liberation War. My goal is to evolve into a person embodying Bangabandhu's ideals."

[Writing in English by Arshi Fatiha Quazi]

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