But the party says it will contest some of the constituencies on its own
The Jamaat-e-Islami wants to take part in the next national election as part of the BNP-led coalition but it will likely contest a number of constituencies on its own.
Sources say the party has already selected its candidates for more than 100 seats.
“We are preparing for the election. We will participate as an alliance member but we are working on our electoral symbol,” Jamaat’s Nayeb-e-Ameer Prof Mia Ghulam Parwar said.
A source from Jamaat’s policymaking body said the party’s symbol, a scale, has been banned by the High Court. A legal team is working on the issue. But the possibility of the party moving the court is very low.
“The electoral symbol is not a big issue for us. Everyone knows and likes Jamaat,” Parwar said.
Several members of Jamaat’s parliamentary board said the party was prioritizing at least 50 seats. Since there is the possibility that Jamaat will go to the polls as a member of the BNP-led alliance, the number of seats to contest from has not yet been decided..
But the party has decided to seek more seats than in the ninth general election.
A member of the party’s central committee said they would discuss the number of seats once the issue is tabled at the alliance’s meeting.
The alliance had given the party 31 seats in the 2001 election. Jamaat independently contested the seats. In the 2008 election, the party got alliance support for 39 seats but chose to contest four of them independently.
Jamaat had prepared to file candidates in 52 constituencies until October last year. By November, the number rose to 62 based on opinions from the grassroots.
A central executive council source said the council acts as the party’s parliamentary board, headed by the Jamaat chief. The election committee is headed by the secretary general.
There is another central committee for picking candidates for the national polls. This committee has already conducted surveys and polled party activists in over 100 constituencies.
A parliamentary committee member said the central body to select candidates visits the grassroots and collects the opinions of various groups. They deliver the written opinions to the centre.
The committee to conduct the election then goes through the list and forwards recommendations to the parliamentary committee. The latter takes the final decision.
The source said the process to select candidates for its targeted constituencies is already finished. “They will be divided in two categories. Those with 80% chance of winning will be included in the first category,” he said.
Candidates have not been selected for a number of seats, he said.
A senior Jamaat leader said they will file candidates independently— even if they go to polls with the alliance. “In this case, the electoral symbol will be different. Jamaat will not use the ‘sheaf of paddy’ [BNP’s symbol],” he said.
Jamaat leader Ehsanul Mahbub Jubayer said: “So far, our decision is to contest the polls as an alliance member. But we will have independent candidates. We will not contest the ‘sheaf of paddy’.”
About the number of candidates, he said the number would increase this time. “If we are participating in the election from the alliance, then there will be discussions,” he added.
Meanwhile, the BNP grassroots-level leaders have asked the party to sever ties with Jamaat before the election. The discussion gained momentum after Jamaat abandoned the alliance and filed its candidate in the July 30 Sylhet city election.
Number of candidates
17 and 4 reserved seats
*The party contested the first and second national polls under the banner of Islamic Democratic League