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Dhaka Tribune

BNP-Jamaat to run city polls jointly

Update : 27 Mar 2015, 08:50 PM

BNP and Jamaat are poised to contest Dhaka and Chittagong City Corporation polls jointly as the Islamist party that earned infamy for its role in 1971 assured its ally of not fielding any candidates.

BNP has finalised Abdul Awal Mintoo for Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Mirza Abbas for Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Monjurul Alam for Chittgagong City Corporation (CCC) elections.

Some other leaders of the party also collected nomination forms as its back-up candidates.

A senior BNP leader said: “Jamaat will not field any mayoral candidate to facilitate BNP’s victory.

Jamaat will field a few number of ward councillor candidates enjoying full support of BNP, he said.

Jamaat with many of its top leaders being already convicted by International Crimes Tribunal for their crimes committed during the country’s Liberation War in 1971 is yet to say anything publicly about the polls.

Even Jamaat leaders have not yet collected nomination form for either mayoral or councillor posts in Dhaka and Chittagong.

In the upazila election held in 2014,  BNP-Jamaat contested the polls jointly and Jamaat bagged more ward councillor posts than BNP.

BNP Standing Committee Member Mirza Abbas, International Affairs Secretary Asaduzzaman Khan Ripon, Finance Secretary Abdul Salam, BNP central leader Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu and pro-BNP teachers leader Selim Bhuyan collected nomination forms for DSCC polls.

While Abdul Awal Mintoo collected nomination form for DNCC polls and Monjurul Islam for Chittagong City Corporation.

Monjur on Friday tendered his resignation as a mayor and collected nomination form.

BNP insiders said they were making all-out preparations to join the polls but at the same time keenly observing the prevailing political situation.

The party is also thinking about placing some proposals within a day or two to the government to ensure a level-playing field.

The party might also boycott the polls if the said level-playing field is not ensured for which it will wait until the last date of nomination paper withdrawal, party sources said.

“We want to participate in the election and there is not the slightest shadow of doubt about it but the atmosphere is still not suitable for a fair election, said BNP Standing Committee Member Mahbubur Rahman.

BNP leaders and activists are yet to get released and potential candidates are fearing arrest. It is the government that has to create the atmosphere conducive to a fair election, he said.

Meanwhile, a seven-member pro-BNP professionals led by former Dhaka University vice-chancellor Emajuddin Ahamad yesterday met BNP Chief Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office.

After emerging from the meeting Emajuddin said Khaleda Zia was very much positive about participating in the city corporation polls.

But if the level-playing field is not created BNP might backtrack on its decision to join the polls, he added.

A senior leader said the party would back Mintoo and Monjurul Islam but in case Abbas failed to run the race Abdus Salam would get the party blessing.

He said election and movement would go hand in hand and party Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman also signalled the party to take part in the polls as part of the movement.

“So blockade will not be withdrawn soon and general strike (hartal) will again be enforced from Sunday,” he said seeking anonymity.

Abdullah Al Noman, vice-chairman of the party, said people’s grievances against the January 5 election would be reflected in the city corporation polls.

When asked what they would do if a congenial atmosphere is not created, Noman said: “We have some other alternatives. We are now observing the situation and let’s see what the government does.” 

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