Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh Nationalist Party is likely to participate in the 11th parliamentary polls scheduled to be held on December 23.

According to the sources, BNP in its standing committee meeting held at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office in the city on Saturday informally decided to take part in the election despite several ‘obstacles and barriers’.

However, at least two influential members of the party’s highest body are seriously opposing the decision.

They alleged that if BNP participates in the election without having their seven-point demands met, the outcome would be totally devastating for the party.

Standing committee members Goyeshwar Chandra Roy and Mirza Abbas, who are leading the hardliner faction of the party, are seriously opposing the policy of joining in election under the Awami League government headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

At one stage of the meeting, the standing committee decided to take decision after getting the instruction from detained party chief Khaleda Zia.

BNP will inform the nation about their decision at a press conference.

After the standing committee meeting BNP leaders took part in a meeting with the leaders of 20-party alliance.

Most of the alliance parties agreed to join the polls as part of the ongoing movement. But Barrister Andalib Rahman Partho, chairman of Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) and some other top leaders were against joining polls keeping Khaleda Zia in jail.

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami however has taken one day time saying that they would inform their party’s stand after consulting their own party leaders.

Liberal Democratic Party President Col (Rtd) Oli Ahmed talked to reporters after the meeting of 20-party alliance meeting.

He said, “We did not take any decision whether we will join the election. Our 20-party alliance will make its final decision public two days later after holding talks with Jatiya Oikyafront.”

Later, BNP leaders held another meeting with Jatiya Oikyafront leaders at the same venue. The meeting was on tilling filing the report at around 9:15pm

On Thursday evening, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda in a televised address to the nation announced the schedule for the next general election.

As per the schedule, the 11th parliamentary election will be held on December 23 (Sunday) while the last date for submitting nomination papers is November 19, the date for scrutinising nomination papers is November 22 and the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers is November 29.

According to insiders, BNP must join polls under the Sheikh Hasina-led government to come out of quicksand as it does not have any option to boycott it.

It was BNP, which was responsible for creating an anarchic situation in the country that led to the declaration of emergency on January 11, 2007, popularly known as the 1/11 changeover, has been criticised widely at home and abroad for its role in the domestic political terrain.

Besides, the party’s violent activities during its rule or while in opposition between 2001 and 2015 created panic among the public. As a result, the party lost public trust.

As the BNP-led 18-party alliance boycotted the January 5 polls in 2014, its leaders, from grassroots to central, got frustrated and accused the party’s high command of taking such a suicidal decision.