THE BETTER CANDIDATE
Mohammad A Arafat
The Dhaka and Chittagong City Corporation elections will be held amidst much excitement and fanfare on April 28, 2015. After three months of bomb explosions and arson attacks by BNP and Jamaat-led opposition coalition killing common people, the upcoming urban municipality elections can be considered as a victory of democracy over terrorism. We have seen a spirited and energetic campaign by the candidates over the last few weeks.
The main contenders for Dhaka North mayor are Annisul Huq, Tabith Awal, Mahi B Chowdhury, and Junaid Saki. Though municipal elections are held above partisan lines officially, major political parties have nominated their candidates unofficially. Annisul Huq joined the race as the AL-backed frontrunner from the outset, but there was confusion over the BNP-JI candidate until the eleventh hour. Tabith Awal was not the first choice but backed by the BNP-JI as a fall back option after his father Abdul Awal Mintoo’s nomination was found to be invalid.
Annisul Huq made a conscious choice to run for public office after over three decades of experience as a business leader, media personality and social worker. He served as the president of FBCCI and BGMEA. He has worked tirelessly to improve our business environment, export competitiveness, and labour relations.
He was instrumental in negotiations between the government, employers, and employees for a minimum wage in the ready-made garments sector. He has also led lobbying efforts for duty-free access of Bangladeshi products in the United States and other markets. He also sits on the board of various charitable organisations.
Annisul has a proven track record of constructive engagement and relationship with the government. As president of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), he worked with governments to improve regional trade and accelerate poverty reduction in Bangladesh and other countries. Annisul can build on his positive relationship with the government and other stakeholders to improve life for Dhaka North residents.
In the mid-90s, Annisul Huq became a household name as an emerging business leader, as well as a renowned media personality. He was a popular host of various television programs, and was far ahead of his time.
Annisul stands out from his contenders as a self-made entrepreneur who emerged as a prominent business leader through his vision, dynamism and perseverance from humble beginnings. At a citizen’s dialogue hosted by Dr Ashikur Rahman last Thursday, Annisul highlighted how hard work got him where he is today and will continue to guide him in solving problems of Dhaka North residents if he is elected. He is determined to set a positive legacy as mayor through performance instead of rhetoric.
Groundwork for solutions
Annisul has led one of the most organised and meticulous campaigns we have ever seen in a bid for city corporation mayor. He has done extensive groundwork identifying and devising solutions to improve the quality of life for Dhaka North residents if he is elected. His homework has been reflected in his fact-based comprehensive manifesto with the message of “Ebar Shomadhan Jatra” (“Movement for Solution, Now”).
In his manifesto, Annisul has unveiled his plan for a clean, green, safe, mobile, healthy, compassionate and smart Dhaka with participatory good governance. He has reiterated his commitment to build an inclusive city for all residents irrespective of their socioeconomic status. Furthermore, he has outlined a youth- oriented, gender sensitive, environmentally conscious and tech-savvy manifesto with pledges on better civic amenities, public transportation, footpaths, cycle tracks, housing, security, traffic management, food safety, education, vocational training, civic centre, media centre, cultural spaces, healthcare, narcotics prevention, day-care facilities, public toilets, parking, tree plantation, recreational parks, pollution reduction, waste disposal, drainage, disaster management and anti-pest drives.
Annisul Huq has led a creative, spirited and energetic campaign connecting to voters from diverse backgrounds in the last few weeks. He deserves credit for upholding the highest level of ethics and principles in sync with his personality to set a positive culture in our politics. He has called for equitable media coverage for all candidates and not only forerunners like himself, while refusing to be dragged into negative campaigning even in the face of provocation by other contestants.
The ticking clock
It is only appropriate that Annisul’s electoral symbol is the table clock. This symbol stands not only for the urgency of ticking time, but also perpetual motion and reassurances of a tomorrow with constant hand movement in the clock face. The table clock will be a reminder to our voters in polling booths that we must not lose further time, while Annisul’s “Movement for Solutions, Now” will work for us relentlessly and serve as our hope for a better future.
We need professionalism, not rhetoric. We need a candidate running by conscious choice, not accidental circumstance. I am confident voters will make the right choice for Annisul Huq, the better candidate today.
APRIL 28, 2015