Dhaka, Dec 5 (UNB) – Worried little over the rejection of candidature of its 141 runners, BNP senior leaders on Tuesday said they have already finalised the list of their candidates for about 200 seats from the valid ones.
Talking to UNB, a number of party senior leaders said they will finalise the candidates for the remaining seats on December 8 after the Election Commission disposes of the appeals filed by the contestants whose nominations were declared illegal by returning officers.
They said they will also settle the seat-sharing issue with their partners of the Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party alliances within a couple of days.
“We’re not much worried over the cancellation of nominations of our huge candidates as we’ve alternative contenders either from our party or our alliance partners in most seats. We also believe that most of our potential runners will get back their candidacy through the appeal,” said a BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity.
He said they kept more than one party contenders in most seats as they knew the EC may scrap candidature of some runners. “We also knew our chairperson and some other leaders like Amanullah Aman won’t be able to contest the polls. So, our strategy to keep alternative candidates has yielded positive results for us.”
The BNP standing committee member said they are now worried whether their candidates will be able to carry out electioneering freely in their respective areas as many of their leaders and activists cannot return to their areas for fear of arrest and harassment by police.
BNP candidate from Barishal-1 Jahiruddin Swapn on Monday sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner seeking his security in his election area while some other candidates are sending letters to the EC or going to local administration seeking security for them.
Contacted, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said though they joined the election as part of their movement to free Khaleda Zia, the election atmosphere is gradually worsening. “The Election Commission is not taking any step to ensure an election atmosphere and a level-playing field.”
He said their candidates are being arrested and harassed while nominations of their many candidates were cancelled on lame excuses. “But, the EC didn’t find anything wrong with Awami League’s main candidates. We think the possibility of a fair election is narrowing gradually.”
He warned that they may take any decision about the participation in the polls if the government and the Election Commission do not change their attitude.
Fakhrul also said they will settle the seat-sharing issue with the alliance partners within a day or two.
Another party standing committee member said they decided to stay in the election race till the last day under any circumstance.
He said they have started making the list of party’s single candidate for every seat and they may soon make public the list of final candidates for 150-200 seats as those have already been finalised.
The BNP leader, however, said they still could not sort out the issue of seat-sharing with their alliance partners as most of the partners are bargain for more seats than they have been offered.
Party insiders said they will settle the issue by December 8 and a letter nominating the candidates of BNP, and its 20-party and Jatiya Oikyafront components will be sent to the EC in the afternoon the same day.
Of the 20-party partners, BNP leaders said, Jamaat is still barging for getting at least 27 seats while BNP is trying to convince it with 20 seats.
However, BNP still could not reach any understanding with any partner of the Oikyafront.
Gano Forum sent a list of 23 candidates, but BNP only confirmed four seats --Dhaka-6 for Subrata Chowdhury, Habiganj-1 for Reza Kibria and one seat for Mostafa Mohsin Montu in Dhaka and Dhaka-18 for another party leader.
Besides, BNP kept aside Moulvibazar-2 for Oikyafront leader Sultan Mohammed Mansur Ahmed.
The party also agreed to share Laxmipur-4 seat with JSD president ASM Abdur Rob and Bogura-2 for Nagorik Oikya’s Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
BNP insiders said the party decided to share 5-6 seats with Gano Forum, 4-5 with Nagorik Oikya, four with JSD, two with Krishak Sramik Janata League and one with a faction of Bikolpa Dhara Bangladesh.
Contacted, Gano Forum executive president Subrta Chowdhury said they will settle the seat-sharing issue with BNP by December 8. “We still couldn’t reach a consensus over the seat-sharing issue with BNP, but hope we’ll be able to do it very soon.”
A 20-party leader said they may hold a meeting on Wednesday evening to finalise the seat-sharing with BNP.
Chief coordinator of the 20-party alliance Oli Ahmed said both BNP and all the alliance partners should be logical about sharing seats.