Businessmen once again are found to dominate the fifth phase of polls in 31 municipalities slated for 28 February as around 79% mayoral candidates have mentioned business as their profession in the affidavits submitted to the Election Commission.
In the previous phases of municipal elections, a large number of candidates were business professionals.
Of the candidates in the upcoming bout of the polls, around 15% are job holders – teachers, journalists and other private employees. The occupational information of the remaining 6% contestants is not found in the affidavits.
The information was obtained after scrutinising 42 mayoral post aspirants' affidavits which were available on the EC website.
Meanwhile, although a big number of candidates are businessmen, most of them are not financially sound.
Of the 42 mayoral candidates, 25 have a cash of Tk1 lakh to Tk9 lakh while only three candidates have more than Tk50 lakh in cash. Of the three, two have an amount below Tk80 lakh and one candidate has mentioned that he has crores of taka.
The lone rich mayoral candidate is Md Abdul Mannan, an independent contestant from Bogura Municipality, possessing around Tk6 crore in cash and deposits.
Besides, he owns 464 decimal of arable land, 19.25 decimal of non-arable land as well as three apartments, a three-storied building and a community centre as per his affidavit.
Meanwhile, Awami League (AL) nominated Md Abu Obaidul Hasan from the same municipality held the second position having Tk78 lakh in cash and deposits. Besides, he owns a piece of land worth around Tk2 crore.
Like the previous phases of municipal polls, the BNP-nominated candidates are ahead in terms of police cases against them.
Among all the contestants, at least 15 candidates have one or multiple police cases against them.
Of the 15, 9 are BNP-backed candidates while four are independent candidates and one each from Awami League and Islamic Andolon.
BNP's AFM Azizul Islam from Matlab of Chandpur is accused in highest 16 cases, while being accused in 12 cases, BNP-nominated Farid Ahmed from Kaliganj of Gazipur holds the second position.
This time the ratio of educated candidates is higher than those of non-educated. According to the affidavits, at least 17 candidates are graduates who are vying for the mayoral post.
Educational qualifications for other aspirants range from HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate) to just only literacy. 10 contestants mentioned that they studied up to grade 8 only while eight candidates are SSC and seven are HSC.
Meanwhile, the wife of BNP's Md Rezaul Karim Badsha from Bogura Municipality is the wealthiest among all the wives of 42 contestants.
She has Tk32 lakh in cash and deposits, around 33 decimal arable land and around 30 decimal non-arable land. In addition, she owns a house and two shops.
Further, Awami League-nominated mayoral candidate Abdur Rashid Khan's wife is the second wealthiest woman having a total of Tk31 lakh in cash and deposits. Besides, she has 24 bhori of gold and around one acre of arable and non-arable land.
Meanwhile, among all the mayoral post aspirants, eight have different types of loans from banks or other financial institutions.
The highest debt of Tk1.6 crore belongs to Md Abdul Mannan from Bogura followed by Md Faruk Hossen Miazi from Chandpur's Shahrasti Municipality who is in debt of around Tk1.58 crore.
A total of 1,784 candidates will battle for the ballot. Of them, 100 candidates are vying for the mayoral post, 1,318 for councilor posts and 366 for reserved seats.
Earlier in four phases of municipal elections, polls took place in 203 municipalities. After the upcoming fifth phase, nine municipalities will go to polls on April 11 in the sixth phase.