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Dhaka Tribune

General election: JaPa at a crossroads

  • Raushan says candidates can use any symbol assigned by ruling alliance 
  • Chunnu says GM Quader would assign symbols 
Update : 19 Nov 2023, 09:17 AM

With the country’s already heated political arena acquiring a further dimension following the announcement of the general polls schedule, the Jatiya Party has formally expressed its readiness to take part in the polls to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal.

It came as Saturday was the last date to submit applications relating to participation in the general election on January 7.

In a letter on Saturday, Raushan Ershad, chief patron of the Jatiya Party and leader of the opposition in parliament, said that any Jatiya Party candidate can use the party’s symbol “Plough” or the symbol that the ruling alliance will assign to the party. 

Jatiya Party spokesperson Kazi Mamunur Rashid said: “I’ve taken to the EC a letter written by our main patron about joining the polls race under the alliance.

“If anybody (candidate) wants, he or she can contest in the election with the alliance’s symbol, no matter who picks the party’s candidates,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu, in another letter to the CEC on Saturday, said that party chairman GM Quader will pick candidates and assign them the party symbol.

Chunnu said that the letter was sent as a formality ahead of the election. 

However, in another development, the Jatiya Party leader said it will be decided within a couple of days whether or not the party will join the forthcoming national election.

He was speaking to reporters at the party president’s Banani office.

“Our senior leaders will convene a meeting of our presidium members, if necessary, and we’ll decide through discussions within a day or two whether or not we will go to the polls,” Chunnu said.

He, nevertheless, said the party still wants political talks to ensure a credible and participatory election.

In her letter, Raushan Ershad said that the Jatiya Party has decided to contest the 12th parliamentary elections as a partner in the Awami League-led grand alliance for the fourth time in continuation of the past three parliamentary elections.

She said that it will be an electoral alliance only.

After the polls, elected parliament members of the Jatiya Party will follow the party decision, she mentioned in the letter.

Raushan Ershad also mentioned in the letter that all nominated candidates of the Jatiya Party can choose the party symbol “Langal” (Plough) or a candidate, as his desire, being allied with the grand alliance, can exercise his option of adopting a symbol.

She urged the CEC to take necessary measures in this regard.

Several parties eye an alliance

Later in the day, Ashok Kumar Debnath, Additional Secretary of the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat, told reporters that the EC had received applications from seven parties. 

He stated the Awami League will take part in the parliamentary elections with its traditional "Boat" symbol and will give nominations to aspirants under the signature of the party president.

He said that apart from the Awami League, the Jatiya Party (Manju), Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Jasad), Bangladesh Workers Party, Trinamool BNP and Jatiya Party (Raushan Ershad) have applied to join the election.

Replying to another query, the EC additional secretary said that the ruling Awami League has not mentioned in its letter with which party or parties it will form an alliance.

As per the letters received, Samyabadi Dal, Bangladesh Workers Party and Gonotantri Party have said that they will go to the elections with the 'Boat' symbol, he added.

On November 15, the CEC announced the schedule for the 12th parliamentary election.

Soon after that, Raushan Ershad welcomed it through a statement.

Some leaders loyal to her at that time said they would participate in the election, but most of the party’s grassroots leaders loyal to GM Quader at a recent meeting suggested not going to the polls under the current government.

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