Staff Correspondent
Election campaign for the 11th parliamentary polls began across the country amid much festivity and fanfare following the allocation of polls symbols to the candidates on Monday.
All the candidates including those nominated by major political alliances or parties and the independent ones are going door to door and holding rallies to woo voters to win the December 30 polls.
The people, especially the young voters, are also very much enthused to peacefully franchise their voting right to elect the next parliament so that the ongoing development of the country can continue unhindered.
According to election observers, the polls are going to be held in a festive and competitive atmosphere as all political parties are joining it under two major political alliances – the Grand Alliance and Jatiya Oikyafront.
The Grand Alliance is a coalition of Bangladesh Awami League, Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party, Liberal Democratic Party and nine other parties.
On the other hand, the Jatiya Oikyafront comprises Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and some left-leaning parties, with Dr Kamal Hossain at its helm.
A total of 272 candidates are going to contest the 11th parliamentary elections with ‘Boat’, Awami League’s electoral symbol, while 298 with BNP’s polls symbol ‘Sheaf of Paddy’.
Out of total 300 constituencies, Awami League has fielded its own candidates in 258 while shared the rest 42 with its partners from the Grand Alliance.
The ruling party has kept aside 29 constituencies for Jatiya Party while five for Bangladesh Workers Party, three each for Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasod) and Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, two for Tarikat Federation, and one each for Jatiya party (JP-led by Manju) and Bangladesh Federation.
Of them, HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party will contest the election with its own symbol ‘Plough’ and Jatiya Party (JP) with its own symbol ‘Bicycle’ in the polls.
BNP has shared 58 seats with its partners from the Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party alliances and fielded its own candidates in 242 parliamentary seats.
Returning officers allocated polls symbols to candidates of the upcoming general election on Monday 20 days ahead of the December 30 elections. They finalised the candidates for 300 constituencies after the deadline for withdrawal of candidature that expired at 5:00pm on Sunday.
As per the law, no candidate can spend more than Tk 10 per voter during the electioneering, but the total election expenditures, including the party’s donation, of a candidate cannot exceed the limit of Tk 25 lakh.
The Commission has already deployed 600 judicial magistrates and nearly 1,000 executive magistrates to punish the violation of the electoral code of conduct during the campaign.
As part of the election campaign, the candidates can hang only black-white posters of the maximum 60cmX45 cm size, but no poster can be pasted. Neither any colourful poster nor a banner-size one can be used.
In case of banner, the highest size is 3X1 metre as per the electoral code of conduct.
A total of 3,065 candidates — 2,567 from all the 39 registered political parties and 498 independent ones — filed nomination papers to contest the election from 300 constituencies in the country.
The returning officers on December 2 accepted 2,279 nomination papers and rejected 786 during scrutiny.
Later, 243 candidates got back their candidacies as the Election Commission upheld their appeals.
Besides, many other candidates, including Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarkar, independent candidate for Kurigram-4, have got back their candidatures with the High Court’s orders.