Gazipur Mayor Mohammad Zahangir Alam Saturday sought a review by the prime minister of his expulsion from Awami League.
"I am seeking the PM's review of the decision. I may have made a mistake, but I am not involved with any wrongdoings. I cannot accept that I have been expelled from Awami League," said the mayor in a press briefing in Gazipur Saturday.
Zahangir was the general secretary of Gazipur city Awami League. On Friday night, a top Awami League policymaking meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister and the party chief Sheikh Hasina, expelled him from the post following his controversial comments on Bangabandhu and Liberation War martyrs.
He also lost the membership of the party.
At the press conference the next morning, the mayor with tears in his eyes said, "I want to tell the prime minister that she had been provided with false, wrong and fabricated information. I told AL leaders that I wanted to meet her and tell her all this myself, but I was not able to see the prime minister."
Reiterating his claim, Zahangir Saturday also told a press briefing that the 30-second video clip, a centrepiece of the controversy, was made up from his 2-3 hours of speeches. The "cut-paste" clip, he claimed, altered the whole meaning and now he was being questioned for that.
At the press briefing, Zahangir Alam was asked about widespread graft allegations in development projects, which suggest the mayor did not provide the land owners with adequate compensation for land acquisition.
In reply to that, the mayor shed light on development works he carried out. He said he had to acquire 8,000 bighas of land and relocate 32,000 houses, mosques and temples, and graveyards for construction of 800km roads in the city. No tender, however, was floated for the work.
"I have worked for the 40-lakh people of Gazipur City Corporation," he defended the graft allegations, and returned to his pleading.
"Again, I request the PM to review the decision. I want the Awami League to reconsider the decision. I do not need any post, just let me be a supporter of Awami League," he added.
He further said, "As a supporter of Awami League, as someone who follows Bangabandhu and embodies his ideals, as someone who carries the morals of the prime minister and Awami League, I will accept whatever the PM decides."
At the Friday meeting, the prime minister also instructed the authorities to take legal action against him. According to law, a chargesheet accepted by a court in a criminal case may cost a city mayor his post.
Earlier in October, ruling Awami League served a show-cause notice on Zahangir as the clip came to the spotlight.
The city mayor submitted his explanation to the party and sought an "unconditional apology", but to no avail.
After Zahangir's expulsion from the party, some Awami League leaders and activists brought out joyous processions on Friday night and on Saturday in the city. They were found vocal about graft allegations and irregularities of the mayor who was elected to office in 2018 at the age of only 38.