A glimpse into affidavits of mayoral aspirants
- Wives outdo mayoral election candidates in assets
- AL candidates wealthier than BNP ones
- Businessmen most secured party tickets
- 22 BNP candidates have multiple cases
- 299 candidates are contesting to mayoral elections countrywide
- 2,360 candidates to vie for councillor posts and 755 for reserved seats
The wife of Md Jannatul Ferdous, Awami League mayoral candidate to Natore's Singra municipality polls, seems to be wealthier than her husband.
She has more cash, savings and fixed deposits than her husband Jannatul.
The wife also owns around 5 acres of arable and non-arable land, while Jannatul only has 0.55 acres, according to the affidavit that the mayoral candidate submitted to the Election Commission (EC).
Jannatul's wife also has two excavators, a three-storied building, and a 30% share worth about Tk24 lakh in a brickfield.
Like him, 15 other mayoral candidates, who are vying for the third phase municipality polls, slated for 30 January, on party lines, are less affluent than their wives.
Among such 16 cases, six are Awami League (AL) backed candidates, five are from BNP, and the remaining five belong to individual candidacy and other parties.
Apart from AL and BNP, Jatiya Party, Islami Andolan Bangladesh, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) are contesting the polls.
Local government expert Professor Tofail Ahmed thinks there might have been two reasons why the candidates' wives are wealthier than the husbands.
"Firstly, the husbands might have registered their assets in their wives' names to evade taxes or keep their personal image clean. Secondly, the wives could be actually in good professions with lucrative incomes," he added.
However, the affidavits submitted to the EC did not have the wives' professions mentioned.
AL candidates wealthier than BNP
Besides, wealthy wives, the AL candidates are also wealthier individually than BNP contestants. Twelve AL candidates mentioned that they have more than Tk1 crore of movable assets, while only three BNP-backed candidates have such assets.
Of all mayoral candidates, Bagerhat's Morrelganj AL backed contestant SM Monirul Haque has the highest moveable assets, including Tk80.5 lakh in banks, dividends worth Tk13.5 lakh, and around Tk3 lakh cash. Besides, he owns 25 bhoris of gold and a microbus.
In the affidavit, Monirul said he has around 482 kathas [1 katha equals to 0.02 acre] of arable land, around 13 kathas of non-arable land, and a three-storied residential building. He also has a firearm registered in his name.
The candidate mentioned that he is an agri entrepreneur and earns Tk2 lakh per year. He also gets Tk4.8 lakh in honorarium as a municipality mayor.
In the meantime, Tangail municipality BNP mayoral candidate Md Mahmudul Haque is the richest among the BNP-picked men.
He is a businessman and an agri entrepreneur. Mahmudul mentioned he earns around Tk3.3 lakh per year from agri business and another Tk2 lakh from his savings.
The BNP candidate has Tk1.38 crore in cash and Tk4.66 lakh in banks. Besides, he owns 40 bhoris of gold and electronics products and furniture worth Tk5 lakh. On top of this, he has 10.26 acres of agricultural land, 51.02 acres non-agricultural and a building in his name.
Maximum candidates are HSC-passed
According to the affidavits, candidates' educational qualifications range from graduation to just literacy.
There are six BNP and three AL candidates who could not cross the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) level, according to the available affidavits of 38 municipalities.
The educational qualification of maximum candidates from both AL and BNP is Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC). There are 17 AL and 9 BNP candidates who have honours degrees.
Businessmen rule the race, BNP ahead in cases
Around 86% of mayoral candidates of the 38 municipalities with available affidavits are businessmen. Among the mayoral candidates, BNP picked at least 28 businessmen while AL picked up 22.
Besides, there are lawyers, doctors, teachers, contractors and clinic owners in the race.
Although BNP candidates lag behind in assets and educational qualifications, they are ahead in police cases filed against them. Of the 38 municipalities, 22 BNP candidates have multiple police cases against them.
Jashore's Monirampur BNP candidate Shahid Md Ikbal Hossen has the highest 29 cases, while Netrokona's Durgapur municipality BNP candidate Md Jamal Uddin becomes second with 12 cases. There are ten cases against BNP mayoral candidate from Narail municipality Julphikar Ali.
Total 3,414 candidates contesting the polls
A total of 299 candidates are contesting for the mayoral post. Besides, 2,360 candidates will battle for councillor posts and 755 for reserved seats.
In the meantime, three mayors, 25 councilors, and nine candidates in reserved seats have already been elected unopposed as their rivals withdrew the candidatures or the candidacies turned up invalid.
In the second phase on 16 January, 61 municipalities will go for elections. Earlier, on 28 December, dwellers of 25 municipalities voted for their representatives in the first phase.