Gonoforum leader Mukabbir Khan, who had initially quit the election race but was called back later, has become one of the luckiest few to win outside the Awami League-led alliance.
He contested from Sylhet-2 (Bishwanath and Osmaninagar) and faced the grand alliance's Yahya Chowdhury, a Jatiya Party leader, and two other strong independent candidates.
Mukabbir came out victorious with 69,420 votes while his nearest rival Muhibur Rahman, an independent candidate, bagged 30,449. JP's Yahya secured 18,032 votes.
The Gonoforum presidium member is an expatriate businessman living in the UK. He came to Bangladesh only to contest the national election.
When Jatiya Oikyafront nominated missing BNP leader Ilias Ali's wife Tahsina Rushdir Luna, he gave up his election hope and left for the UK. However, Luna lost her candidacy following a High Court order. Oikyafront then called back Mukabbir and gave support to him.
Following a writ petition by JP leader Yahya, the HC cancelled her nomination on December 13 on the charge of hiding information in her affidavit. She failed to regain her candidacy even after an appeal.
Mukabbir contested with Gonoforum's electoral symbol “Rising Sun”.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, he called himself a lucky man. “I am happy to win through people's votes. At the same time, I feel bad for the overall results as Oikyafront lost.”
Mukabbir said he has been in politics for 40 years. “I was involved with Chhatra League and then Awami League. When Gonotantrik Forum was formed, I was its UK unit's member secretary. Now I'm a presidium member of Gonoforum.”
Asked about how he got back to the electoral race, he said, “I left the country with a broken heart after not getting Oikyafront's nomination but when Dr Kamal Hossain called me and gave me the opportunity, I felt lucky. I worked hard for a few days to win people's hearts.”
According to him, the main factor for his win is Dr Kamal's bold political stand. “My political view differs from that of missing BNP leader M Ilias Ali, but he is still popular in the area. The sympathy for his condition also helped me win the polls.”
Mukabbir is originally from nearby Sylhet-3 (Dakkhin Surma, Fenchuganj, and Balaganj).
“My home is at Chandairpara of Balaganj upazila, and it's adjacent to Osmaninagar. The two areas became separate upazilas only a few years back. Since my home is closer to Osmaninagar, I contested from this constituency,” he said.
Mukabbir said he will focus on local development and enhancement of Gonoforum's popularity.