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11th general polls: BNP looking to free up large number of constituencies for allies, civil society

  • Published at 11:25 am November 22nd, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:24 am November 23rd, 2017
11th general polls: BNP looking to free up large number of constituencies for allies, civil society
BNP is planning to set aside at least 100 constituencies in the upcoming 11th parliamentary election for non-party candidates drawn from three distinct categories. A party insider told the Bangla Tribune that BNP will nominate its own candidates for the remaining 200 constituencies from a list it prepared ahead of the most recent national polls in 2014. However, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is yet to make a final decision on the plan. As part of the first category system, candidates for several constituencies will be chosen from 20-party alliance members including Jamaat-e-Islami, who are expected to contest 30 to 40 constituencies. However, this number could go down in the future. Political parties in the second category include Bikalpa Dhara, Nagorik Oikya, Gono Forum, Krishak Sramik Janata League, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD). BNP will not contest constituencies where candidates from these selected parties are standing. The third category for the 100 seats will comprise those who sought reform before the 2008 general polls, and professionals who were deeply involved with the politics of BNP and Khaleda Zia in the past eight years. A few candidates belonging to the third category will be finalized by the BNP. A BNP leader involved with the nomination procedure said the party was aiming to broaden its reach. “A number of doctors, engineers, teachers and other professionals have earned popularity among the people, despite not having ties with any political party,” he said. “BNP could choose them as candidates.” Meanwhile, sources from Jamaat confirmed that the party is thinking of contesting in the next general polls under the BNP party symbol, although a number of Jamaat leaders declined to confirm this on record. Another BNP leader said if Jamaat-e-Islami is legally recognised as a political party before polls, it could raise complications for BNP. “However, under the current circumstances, Jamaat candidates will have to participate in the polls as independent candidates and the BNP will leave some of the constituencies to Jamaat,” he said. Majlis-e-Shura member Moulana Habibur Rahman said the underlying circumstances could change in the weeks and months before the polls, which must be held by early 2019. “Before choosing a symbol for the election, we must first decide exactly how the polls will be organized,” he said. BNP Vice Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu said the party’s parliamentary board will make the final decision on the nomination process. “It is too early to say anything concrete about the procedure,” he said. This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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