BNP nominates 800 candidates, will finalise 300 later
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has published a long list of its candidates, though it has almost finalised the names for contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Party insiders say it is taking time to finalise its list of 300 candidates, in a preemptive move to counter any ruling party offensive to dissuade the opposition candidates or to distabilise their discipline.
Until Tuesday, the BNP camp named around 800 candidates, said party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
The BNP will also have to make adjustment in terms of distribution of seats with its old and new allies to bring down the number of candidates to 300, the number of seats that Jatiya Sangsad (national assembly) has.
The alliance partners of the BNP including newly floated Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) and Jamaat-e-Islami, will contest the polls with the BNP’s election symbol — sheaf of paddy.
Oikya Front leader Kamal Hossain has given his consent to the process of finalising candidates of the alliance in a slow manner due to what he termed time contraint.
The BNP secretary general, however, gave a broad hint that the main opposition party would allocate around 60 seats for its alliance partners to contest the polls.
The BNP central leaders said on Tuesday that they would announce the names of candidates formally by sending letters to the election commission to issue the party’s election symbol in favour of their nominated candidates — from the party and the alliance.
This means the electorates and observers will have to wait until 9 December to know the names of the candidates chosen by the BNP.
According to the polls schedule, the last day to withdraw candidature is 9 December. The voting is scheduled to be held on 30 December.
“Names of nominated candidates won’t be disclosed before sending letters to the returning officers requesting them to issue party symbol in favour of our candidates,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He shrugged off any chance of creating problems as according to him, they have time until the date of withdrawal of candidature.
BNP sources said central leaders have been trying to keep the names of nominated candidates secret as the Awami League also refrained from announcing the names of their candidates.
“Many BNP leaders across the country are made accused in politically motivated cases. Many are hiding as they were implicated in ‘false cases’. More than one candidates have been finalised for each constituency. The BNP men don’t want to leave the field of voting. This is why we’re taking time to issue the letters,” a senior BNP leader told Prothom Alo, wishing not to disclose identity.
According to rules, the candidate of the BNP will be that person who will get the party’s symbol to compete in the national elections.
Many field level leaders and activists of the BNP were seen waiting in front of the party chairperson’s Gulshan office in the capital on Tuesday.
Many of them seemed to be anxious as several candidates have been chosen for a constituency.
* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla online, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza