Dr. Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury Dulal
The Sylhet-3 constituency, located in close proximity to Sylhet-1, has become the center of attention as the 12th parliamentary election draws near. Numerous aspiring candidates are eagerly seeking party nominations, setting the stage for a dynamic electoral contest.
But what qualities should we, the voters of Sylhet-3 and the citizens of Sylhet, seek in our candidate and prospective Member of Parliament?
This constituency, encompassing Fenchuganj, Balaganj, and Dakshin Surma, holds immense electoral sway, boasting a combined voter strength of 322,293 individuals.
The incumbent Member of Parliament, Mr. Habibur Rahman Habib, who assumed office following a by-election after the untimely passing of the revered late MP Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury, stands as a formidable contender in the upcoming election.
However, securing the party nomination is not merely a matter of surpassing the qualifications of the present MP; it involves establishing a genuine connection with the local grassroots voters, a challenge that intertwines elements of simplicity and complexity.
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has conveyed a clear message to aspiring candidates: "Do not seek my direct endorsement, avoid lobbying; instead, engage directly with the people... I will take notice of your efforts." Therefore, the true challenge lies in effectively engaging with the local populace, dedicating oneself to the service of the public, and achieving genuine popularity at the grassroots level.
The passing of Mahmud Us Samad has left a profound void in the hearts of the constituents of Sylhet-3. His legacy is irreplaceable, and his devotion to the welfare of the people is deeply cherished. As we approach the impending election, concerns loom regarding financial improprieties in electoral politics and the potential legal complications faced by MPs in foreign countries. To avert such recurring issues, it is imperative for key figures responsible for candidate nominations, in conjunction with local advocates and voters, to take decisive action.
Our collective aspiration is to see a sincere and well-qualified individual represent our constituency—a person capable of contributing not only to local development but also to the advancement of Bangladesh as it progresses towards its vision of a Digital Bangladesh. We yearn for a representative who will make our region proud, a figure with a national presence, familiar with the inner workings of Dhaka's secretariat and ministries, and esteemed by individuals spanning the distance from Sylhet to Dhaka. (Consider how many names we can readily identify among the 350 Members of Parliament, elected through both direct and indirect means, whose guidance shapes the destiny of our nation!)
So, why is Dr. Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury Dulal the undisputed choice for Sylhet-3? Dr. Dulal's political journey spans over half a century, commencing during his tenure at Sylhet MC College in the early 1970s. Even during his college years, he exhibited leadership qualities, serving as an elected student council representative and collaborating with influential leaders such as Sultan Mohammad Mansur.
Hailing from a family deeply committed to political activism, his elder brother was a heroic freedom fighter during the War of Liberation in 1971, embodying the spirit of heroism. Dr. Dulal's family endured numerous hardships during that tumultuous period, including the torching and looting of their residence in the city by anti-independence agitators. He himself faced false accusations due to his political involvement while studying at Sylhet Medical College. Following his exoneration, he successfully completed his undergraduate studies in medical science and proceeded to serve as a distinguished government officer, ascending to leadership roles in organizations such as BMA, Swachip, and Prakrichi. Throughout his remarkable 32-year career, he steadfastly upheld principles of ethics and integrity. Even during the oppressive regime of BNP-Jamaat, he stood firm in his commitment to public service despite facing persecution, abuse, and transfers.
This stalwart champion of Bangabandhu's ideals in the realm of healthcare exhibited unwavering self-respect and loyalty to the people, the nation, and the party. Crucially, Dr. Dulal never wavered in his dedication to principles and ideals, even in the twilight of his career, earning the admiration and affection of society and the general public.
Dr. Dulal's extensive career, sound decision-making abilities, and adept crisis leadership, both within the party and the nation, represent invaluable assets for the Awami League. His proactive involvement in creative initiatives and his active and credible roles in various capacities instill confidence in his past performance. As an individual, Dr. Dulal epitomizes these qualities, rendering him an outstanding candidate.
One noticeable gap among parliamentarians in Bangladesh is the absence of progressiveness. As a local resident and colleague who has witnessed Dr. Dulal's lifelong commitment to progressive thinking, I can unequivocally attest to his exceptional standing in this regard. With his knowledge, education, ethical integrity, open-mindedness, and progressiveness, Dr. Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury Dulal undeniably embodies a progressive figure untainted by bias, capable of making significant contributions to the nation and society. We do not desire self-serving, opportunistic individuals to represent our constituency in Parliament, thereby bringing disgrace not only to Sylhet-3 but to the entire nation, as unfortunate instances have occurred in the past.
In today's rapidly changing landscape, characterized by the ubiquity of mobile phones, the internet, news outlets, and YouTube, the actions of MPs, their interactions with the public, and their conduct are instantly disseminated through various media channels. Consequently, we must not elect incompetent or corrupt individuals from Sylhet-3, as this would undoubtedly lead to public outrage due to their transgressions. Instead, we yearn for MPs who diligently work in the interests of the people, assuming the role of leaders and remaining unwavering in their commitment to the public, all while resisting the influence of relatives or intermediaries. These candidates should dedicate themselves as true public servants of the region and labor tirelessly for the betterment of the country, prioritizing the people's welfare over personal gains. Such candidates are the need of the hour.
Dr. Dulal boasts an honest, efficient, and untarnished political profile, cherishing the ideals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He transcends personal interests to become a genuine leader of the people. Throughout his career, he has garnered numerous accolades, ranging from recognition by the BMA and BMDC to commendations from the World Health Organization, all of which underscore his unwavering commitment to the welfare of the common people during times of crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and various natural disasters.
Unwavering in his dedication to ethical conduct, Dr. Dulal is a non-communal individual with a constitutional spirit. He consistently stood by all parties, communities, and groups, refraining from making deceptive promises and instead operating as a realist. As a candidate nominated by the party, Dr. Dulal, if elected, will undoubtedly enhance the party's national standing through his integrity and performance. His dedication to his official duties, commitment to ethical conduct, and zero tolerance for corruption will serve as a deterrent to corrupt officials and intermediaries. As an MP, Dr. Dulal will effectively communicate the party's "mandate" to the people—a mandate grounded in realism and possessing a profound impact. His foremost priorities will include serving the people, fostering local development, and contributing to the nation's progress. He embodies modernity in thought, action, and decision-making.
Beyond these considerations, as a member of the general public, I would like to address a few key points. Firstly, what is Dr. Dulal's track record and career experience as a candidate? This will provide insight into his qualifications and his potential contributions if elected. Secondly, how has he demonstrated leadership in past roles and organizations, and was he accountable and responsible? An individual's dedication and commitment to their work and organization are telling indicators of their leadership capabilities. Thirdly, does he uphold unwavering ethical standards?
Finally, is Dr. Dulal genuinely interested in the development of the area, its people, and the country, or has he merely flitted in and out for personal gain under the guise of development?
In response to these questions, Dr. Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury Dulal stands unrivaled in terms of eligibility, track record, work experience, honesty, dedication, leadership qualities, commitment to the organization, responsibility to the people of the area, and popularity in the region. As a dreamer, I envision an honest, educated, and efficient individual who will shoulder our responsibilities as a Member of Parliament and drive progress. In an independent sovereign country, after half a century of independence, is it too much to expect a qualified candidate who upholds non-sectarian, democratic values?
The investment that the Awami League has made in Dr. Dulal over the past 32 years to mold him into a valuable resource like "Janatar Dulal" should not go to waste.
As we seek a candidate, we yearn for a truly enlightened and competent individual. As supporters of Awami League's grassroots level, we hope that the party's leaders and electorate will not disappoint us.
Anamul Haque Anam: Writer, Columnist, Public Health Expert