BNP policymakers on Monday sat in a meeting to decide the party’s participation in the upcoming by-polls to three parliamentary seats in Dhaka, Bagerhat and Gaibandha, but could not finalise it.
The meeting of the BNP standing committee members began around 6:30 pm at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office. But it was adjourned one and a half hours later as the party leaders could not reach the final decision on joining or boycotting the three parliamentary by-elections, said a BNP policymaker who was present at the meeting.
However, there was no briefing about the outcome of the meeting.
Talking to UNB, two BNP standing committee members said most of them are in favour of taking part in the by-polls as part of their movement as the voters are losing their interests in voting due to lopsided elections.
However, some standing committee members think BNP should not join any polls under the current government and the Election Commission after what happened in the elections to two Dhaka city corporations as the party rank and file are only getting demoralised with the election results and the voting process.
The two BNP leaders said they elaborately discussed the merits and demerits of joining polls, but finalise the decision.
They said those opposing the party’s participation in the by-polls agreed that though their party candidates could not win the Dhaka city polls for various reasons they got huge sympathy from people while the government lost its popularity further.
“I’ve tried to convince my colleagues that people will lose their interest in voting further if we don’t join the by-polls. Voters’ such apathy won’t be good for us in the long run. Besides, the election will give us a chance to revitalise our leaders and activists, no matter what will be the results. So, I think we may finally take a decision about taking party in the by-polls,” said a senior BNP standing committee member.
He said they also discussed the possible ways to ensure proper treatment of their chairperson Khaleda Zia.
BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku were present at the meeting held with party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
The by-elections to Gaibandha-3, Bagerhat-4 and Dhaka-10 constituencies will be held on March 21 as per the scheduled announced by the Election Commission on February 6.
According to the schedule, the deadline for the submission of nomination paper is February 19, while the date for scrutinising the nomination paper is February 23 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidacy is February 29.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in Dhaka-10, while traditional ballot papers in Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4 constituencies in the elections, he said.
Gaibandha-3 and Bagerhat-4 constituencies fell vacant following the death of Awami League MPs Dr M Yunus Ali Sarker on December 27 and Dr Mozammel Hossain on January 10 last respectively.
But the Dhaka-10 fell vacant as AL MP Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh resigned on December 29 to contest the Dhaka South City Corporation election.