The news of Tarique Zia’s nominee list for the next parliamentary elections getting leaked has created stir in BNP. There are around 43 names in that list whose political identity remain unknown to BNP leaders and workers. They do not have any connection with politics. Many in BNP standing committee do not know them. As a result, the BNP leaders are saying that Tarique took bribe from them to nominate them.
Tarique’s one of the closest associates, BNP Senior Joint Secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi is surprisingly absent from the list, which is now available to every BNP leader and worker. Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, who has been detained by the police, has been removed from Dhaka and shifted to Rangpur. In 2008, he contested from capital’s Motijheel. Another notable exclusion is BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia`s Personal Secretary Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas. Moreover, those sacrificed for BNP in the past 10 years have been excluded from the list.
The list allotted only 20 seats for BNP’s 20-party alliance partners. For Jamaat, Tarique offered 12 seats whereas for the rest he allotted only 18 seats. However, BNP assured its alliance partners during a meeting that it would offer them a respectable number of seats. A number of BNP leaders said the alliance partners might be allotted at least 70 seats, although the alliance partners demanded at least 100 seats.
Sources in BNP said senior leaders, led by Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul, of BNP, had been preparing for the elections for the last three months. Works on written proclamation, the outline of the government and finalization of the candidate list were ongoing. It has been known that Tarique held a series of talks with Mirza Fakhrul about the list of candidates. In the recent London visit, Tarique directed Fakhrul to prepare the draft list of the candidates. In this regard, the BNP leaders prepared a list. However, Tabith Awal gave a candidate list to the secretary general and told that it was Tarique’s final list of candidates. A member of the standing committee said that the senior leaders prepared the list considering its opponent Awami League’s candidates. The criterion for the nomination was popularity in one’s respective area and loyalty to the party. On the other hand, Tarique gave priority to wealth. For example, in Dhaka, except Mirza Abbas, there is no other candidate from BNP. All of them are businessmen. This decision has infuriated the alliance partners of 20-party. The partners are angry because Tarique did not discuss this issue with them before finalizing the list. They believe it would raise questions against the 20-party. However, the followers of Tarique said that his list was prepared based on scientific survey and data.