Keeping aside 70 seats for its two alliance partners, BNP is going to finalise its candidates for 230 seats through a four-day interview of its nomination seekers that began on Sunday.
Talking to UNB, party senior leaders hinted that they may pick many new faces, including some ex- Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leaders who have popularity in their respective constituencies to replace the old guards.They said they are also likely to nominate some minority community members and female aspirants from their party and the alliances to appease the civil society members and foreign friends.
Party insiders said their party guided by Tarique Rahman has already conducted a survey across the country, and will give nomination based on that. Through videoconferencing during the interview of the aspirants, Tarique is also giving party nomination seekers necessary directives to get united and worked hard for the party to ensure its victory, no matter whether they are given nomination or not.
Apart from their main candidate, BNP leaders said, they also have a plan to field at least three dummy contenders in every parliamentary seat who will contest as independent runners so that the party and its alliances can employ sufficient number of polling agents at every booth of 42,000 voting centres on the voting day to check possible manipulation.
The strategy will be applied also with an aim to ensure the presence of its candidates in all constituencies if any candidate’s nomination is cancelled for any reason during the scrutiny.The party senior leaders, however, said they may not disclose the final list of the candidates of their party and alliance partners one or two days before the expiry of deadline for the withdrawal of candidature for some strategic reasons.As per the election schedule, the last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 9.
A BNP standing committee member said they and their allies are keeping sharp eyes on the seats Awami League is going to share with its alliance partners as they think it will be relatively easier for them to win those seats as the ruling party may face intra-party conflicts there.
“We know will have to win the polls with a good strategy under the current political context and the adversities. So, we’ll be very strategic in every process of the election from the selection of candidates to selection of polling agents,” the BNP leader said. BNP sold 4,580 nomination papers among those who want to contest the 11th parliamentary elections with its tickets.
Senior BNP leaders said they still did not finalise the issue of seat sharing with their partners of Jatiya Oikyafront and 20-party alliance.However, the alliance partners are mounting pressure on the party by giving big lists of their candidates.
ASM-Abdur Rob-led Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) sent a list of its 132 candidates while Nagorik Oikya 35 through their separate press releases on Saturday.Though Gano Forum did not make any list public, the party leaders said they are very reasonable regarding seat sharing, and they will be happy if BNP gives them 20-25 seats.
Besides, a Gono Forum presidium member said Dr Kamal Hossain has a list of some noted persons whom he wants to contest the polls under the banner of Oikyafront. Besides, Krishak Sramik Janata League and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya also want 10 more seats.
Of the 20-praty partners, Jamaat wants at least 40 seats while LDP and Khelafat Majlish, 20, BJP 3, Jatiya Party (Zafar) 15, Kalyan Party 5, Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam 6, NAP and NDP 4, Jagpa and NPP 4, Democratic League and Samyabadi Dal 4, Muslim League 2 and Labour Party 2. Four other parties want nomination of their party’s top most leaders.
Contacted, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said they are in negotiations with their party leaders and alliance partners about the seat-sharing issue, and they will disclose it in due time.He said they have many competent candidates in every constituency, but they will pick candidates based on current political reality.
Mosharraf said they are confident that they will not face any problem either by their alliance partners or the party leaders to finalse the candidates for 300 seats as all are now giving importance to win the election with united efforts.
He hinted that they may not disclose the final decision on seat sharing until December 7. BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said they will pick the most deserving candidates who can come out successful. “We all are agreed that we should nominate the candidates who have the best chance to win.”
Another party standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy said it is very tough job for them to finalise candidates from so many competent ones in each constituency.“We want to accomplish the job competently and neutrally. We’ll consider many things– popularity, acceptability, capability, educational quality and their sacrifices and contributions–before finalising the candidates.
A BNP senior leader said they may offer Dr Kamal Hossain to contest the polls either from a seat in Feni or Bagura, BNP’s two strongholds, to ensure his victory.He also said most of senior leaders of the key alliance partners will be given chance to contest the polls as they all have agreed to use BNP’s election symbol sheaf of paddy.