Some councilors have taken the first steps to gang up against Dhaka North City Corporation’s Mayor Annisul Huq.  Businessman-turned-politician Huq was elected as the mayor nine months ago. The councilors tried to gather in a restaurant in Dhaka’s Manipuri Parha on Monday evening, but the attempt failed due to ‘government pressure’. The councilors at the restaurant told bdnews24.com that a government official had requested them to refrain from holding the meeting.  According to them, a few councilors including Mohammadpur Awami League General Secretary Habibur Rahman Mizan had proposed the meeting.

Ward 20 Councilor Md Nasir groaned, “I don’t know what to do. If I don’t attend (the meeting), I will be called a supporter of the mayor, but if I do attend, I’ll be accused of conspiring against him.” Claiming that the councilors wanted to have a confidential discussion, Nasir said, “There is no work being done in those areas. People want to beat us when we go there.” Asked when the dispute between the mayor and the councilors had begun, Nasir said, “There is no dispute. We are  simply considered worthless.” “People spend a lot of money to become councilors. They want to work for the party. They want to engage the party activists,” he said. Asked how many councilors share the opinion, Nasir said, “Everyone.” Ward 7 councilor and Dhaka North Swechhasebak League chairman Mobasser Chowdhury said, “I am in good terms with him (the mayor). I don’t know if anyone is in bad terms with him.”

Chowdhury also said, “He does not have a political background. Politicians face pressure. He is a businessman. He is not supposed to understand these things.” “The people involved in party politics come here. Obviously they will have some demands,” Chowdhury said. Claiming that the mayor has done a lot of good work, the councilor said, “City Corporation has a lot of departments. He spends a lot of time running the departments along with the ‘Green Dhaka, Clean Dhaka’ campaign.” “The mayor is working on solving problems like water clogging and traffic jams. He comes to office seven days a week,” Chowdhury added, “We the councilors should not disturb him.”

Requesting anonymity, another councilor told bdnews24.com, “There were no developments in the last nine months. He (the mayor) is working with bureaucrats and army officials on deputation. He does not work together with the elected councilors.” “He gave away a Tk 1.6 billion development project to people he nominated through an e-tender. Some of the contractors were from the BNP,” he said. “Even though he went abroad seven times, no panel mayor was selected. He did not give ID cards to the councilors,” he added.

“Male councilors were given secretaries, but female councilors weren’t. When he visits an area, the councilor of that area is never informed.” The aim of the meeting was to unite the councilors over these issues, he claimed. Ward 6 councilor Hazi Rajjab Hossain said, “What could we want from the mayor? Why would we want to clash with him? Things must simply work out.” But some claimed that Hossain was one of the key organizers of the meeting. The main organizer, Habibur Rahman, could not be reached. He did not respond to several phone calls and text messages. Mayor Annisul Huq was also unavailable.