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S M Mizanur Rahman
Tension is running high among the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) aspirants selected initially to contest the December 30 national polls with ‘Paddy Sheaf’ symbol as BNP has fielded more than one candidate in almost all constituencies.
As per BNP’s latest strategy, if any party nominee is excluded during the scrutiny by returning officers, and also if one is disqualified, the backup candidate will contest the election.
In support of having multiple candidates, BNP’s senior leaders said many of the aspirants have been facing criminal cases and some are already convicted by the court. As a result, their fate hangs in the balance.
To this end, the candidates and their supporters and also locals are still in the dark as to who is going to be BNP’s final candidate.
However, BNP policymakers gave a hint that the names of party’s final candidates would be known on December 9, the date for withdrawal of nomination papers.
The party gave nomination letters to around 800 candidates for 280 seats on Sunday and Monday last.
Of them, 14 ex-MPs are known as ‘reformists’ for their role against the party during the 1/11 political changeover in 2007.
In Bogura, out of seven constituencies, BNP has given more than one candidate in five constituencies each.
Among them, local leader Mohammad Shokrana and former BNP lawmaker Kazi Rafiqul Islam were given nomination to contest from Bogura-1 (Sariakandi-Shonatola), Mir Shahe Alam, organising secretary, and MR Islam Shwadhin, joint general secretary of Bogura district unit of BNP, were given nomination for Bogura-2 (Shibganj) and Abdul Momin Talukdar, now absconding, ex-lawmaker and an accused of crimes against the humanity and his wife Masuma Monin were given nomination for Bogura-3 (Dupchpia Adamdighi).
Besides, Mosharraf Hossain, vice president, Zia Shishu Kishore Sangathon, and BNP ex-lawmaker Dr Ziaul Huq Molah, and Saiful Islam, president Bogura district unit of BNP, have been selected for Bogura-4 (Kahalu-Nandigram).
When Saiful Islam was given nomination on November 26, news about three other candidates getting nomination for the same constituency was also circulated on social media, creating confusion and uncertainty and fuelling anger among the local leaders and workers of the party.
Jane-Alam Khoka, convener, Sherpur upazila unit of BNP, and ex-lawmaker Golam Muhammad Siarj have been given nomination for Bogura-5 (Sherpur-Dhunot).
All the candidates on Wednesday submitted their nomination papers to contest the general election.
Party leaders said, though they are likely to share 60 seats with their partners of the Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party alliance, they are initially fielding candidates in 280 seats as they still could not settle the seat-sharing issue.
They, however, said their party candidates will withdraw their candidature from the seats which will be shared with their alliance partners.
A BNP senior leader said they nominated the reformist leaders as part of their reconciliation move ahead of the election.
A party standing committee member said they mainly have given importance to BNP’s candidates in the 2001 and 2008 general elections apart from reports of party internal surveys in selecting the contenders for the upcoming national election.