Nomination seekers are going all out in preparation for the upcoming Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayoral by-election, set to be held in February, 2018.
However, the two major political parties, the Awami League and the BNP, have remained tight-lipped over the upcoming election so far.
Awami League’s local government nomination board and BNP’s standing committee have yet to hold meetings over the DNCC mayoral by-election.
Several senior leaders from both parties stated that no formal discussions have been held with the party chiefs Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia over the issue.
Central figures of the ruling party said aspirants of different ranks are visiting the senior leaders to discuss what sort of candidate should be nominated for the mayoral by-polls. Both nominations seekers and leaders who want to discuss the issue are seeking meetings with the central leadership.
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Several central leaders have added that a candidate will be nominated after taking into consideration the opinion of all party leaders and activists.
The Election Commission on Sunday announced that the schedule for the mayoral by-polls will be announced in mid-January next year, and the election will be held in the last week of February.
A number of Awami League policymakers said: “The Election Commission has announced their decision. The Awami League possesses the organisational preparation to contest in any election, any time.
“Nomination seekers have started lobbying, but the Awami League is yet to finalise its candidate for the polls. The party is trying to nominate a candidate favoured by the people.”
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Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel, acting organising secretary of Bangladesh Awami League’s Dhaka Division, said: “We are yet to hold any discussion regarding the DNCC election. However, the Awami League is always prepared to contest the polls, as soon as the EC announces it.”
Echoing the opinion of Nowfel, Awami League presidium member Faruk Khan said: “Discussions are yet to be held on the issue. I am optimistic that the Awami League will nominate a candidate that is favoured by the people.”
Meanwhile, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said the nominated candidate must have a clean image.
On the other side of the spectrum, BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Chowdhury said: “No formal discussion on nominating a candidate for the DNCC mayoral by-polls has been held.”
Speaking to the correspondents, a number of leaders from the BNP and its associate parties revealed the names of candidates which might be nominated for the upcoming election. Some of the shortlisted candidates are, former minister Major (retd) Kamrul Islam, Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) Chairman Andalib Rahman Partho and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
Party insiders claim that Tabith Awal, who was nominated by the BNP in the previous DNCC mayoral polls, and his father Abdul Awal Mintoo are also being considered as possible candidates.
However, several BNP leaders have expressed concern that the government might deliberately delay the election after the announcement of its schedule by the EC.
Addressing the matter, Amir Khasru Chowdhury said: “Let us see what the government does [about the mayoral by-polls] first. It is too soon to comment on the issue.”
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune