Bangladesh elections: BNP finalises 150 candidates, rest in wait

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Full list after EC disposes appeals against nomination rejection

Opposition BNP has finalised candidates in at least 150 constituencies and will pick contenders for the remaining seats after the Election Commission decides the fate of many of its leaders' appeals against rejection of their nomination papers.

Top leaders of the party chose the 150 candidates for the December 30 election after holding a series of meetings in the last three days.

They consulted acting party chief Tarique Rahman, who has been in London since 2008, in this regard. The party may start issuing letters today to the selected contenders, say insiders.

The finalisation of candidates is being delayed because of rejection of the nomination papers filed by many of the party leaders, they said. 

As many as 141 BNP leaders saw their nomination papers rejected on various grounds, including conviction and defaulted loans. Almost half of them are strong contenders, added the insiders.

"We want to know the fate of their appeals. Those who win the appeals will get the party ticket to contest the election," a senior BNP leader told The Daily Star, seeking anonymity.

The nomination papers of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and former ministers Morshed Khan, barrister Aminul Huq, Mir Nasiruddin, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku, and Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, and some ex-lawmakers were rejected. 

From today, the BNP will be getting results of the appeals by its leaders as the EC starts disposing those this morning.

The party will send a high-profile team comprising senior leaders to the EC hearing, former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, a member of the BNP standing committee, told this newspaper.

In the last three days, the party formed at least 12 sub-committees to coordinate election-related activities. They will coordinate appointments and training of polling agents, and also maintain regular contact with the EC, the media, international observers and embassies in Dhaka.

One of the sub-committees is now chalking out a plan to gear up publicity across the country when the formal electioneering begins on December 10.

Another sub-committee will run campaigns for the party on the social media and counter criticism.

Besides, the formation of 40,000 committees for the polling stations across the country is almost complete.

Yesterday, the BNP wrote to the EC, asking it to allocate the party's electoral symbol to candidates from 10 more registered parties that are in the 20-party alliance and the Jatiya Oikyafront.

Earlier, in a letter to the EC, the BNP had informed that eight political parties of its two alliances would use its electoral symbol.

The Oikyafront, the alliance comprising the BNP and several other opposition parties, has come up with the idea of forming a liaison committee for each polling station.

The committees will include local leaders of the alliance components.    

Upon allocation of the electoral symbol on December 10, the Oikyafront will kick off formal electioneering on December 11 or 12 from Sylhet by offering prayers at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shah Paran (R).

The Oikyafront may roll out its electoral manifesto in the middle of this month. The BNP may also come up with a separate manifesto at the same time.

SEAT-SHARING

A number of senior BNP leaders held hectic meetings in the last couple of days to settle the issue of seat-sharing between the BNP and its partners in the alliances.

A senior BNP leader, who is negotiating with the partners to finalise the seat-sharing, told this newspaper yesterday that the party agreed in principle to leave 50 seats for leaders of the 20-party alliance and the Oikyafront.

The list of candidates in the 300 constituencies will be formally announced on December 8 when the EC will complete disposal of the appeals against rejection of nomination papers, according to BNP sources.

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