BNP hopes to go to the polls along with Jatiya Oikya Front and 20-party alliance. BNP will reportedly finalize nomination keeping two alternative candidates in each constituency as the party leaders have various cases and arrest warrants against them.
However, according to sources in BNP, Tarique Rahman, who is absconding in London, has finalized names of three candidates for each constituency. BNP is ready to sacrifice for its two alliance partners Jatiya Oikya Front and 20-party to defend its very existence.
For this reason, BNP may share 100 seats with its alliance partners. In that case, Oikya Front will get 50 seats and the 20-party alliance will get 50 seats.
A source in BNP said that Tarique has already finalized the list of candidates and he has begun to hold talks with the potential candidates. A number of those candidates have met with Tarique in London and some have contacted him over the phone. Several BNP leaders have confirmed that Tarique will finalize this list soon.
Top leaders of BNP said they have long been preparing to finalize this list and like Awami League, they have conducted surveys. According to the results of the surveys, about 200 candidates, who participated in the 2008 election, will not be getting nomination this time. Sources said BNP may bring some shocking changes this time.
There is a chance that Tarique Rahman’s wife Zubaida Rahman will contest from the Sylhet-1 constituency, and late Arafat Rahman Koko`s wife Syeda Sharmila Rahman Sithi will contest from Magura and Dhaka. Moreover, among other Zia family members Shameem Iskander, younger brother of Khaleda Zia, and her sister will contest in the election.
Sources in BNP said as both Khaleda and Tarique are not participating in the election, to keep the Zia’s family’s authority over the party, Zia family is nominating its members as more as possible.
However, another source in BNP said that Khaleda Zia will contest from 5 different seats- two from Bogura, one from Feni, one from Dhaka and one from Khulna. BNP said it seeks to deal with the challenge of Khaleda Zia’s nomination than launching a movement.
BNP leader Khandker Mahbub Hossain said, ‘If BNP goes to the polls in the end, it will go with Khaleda Zia. There is no chance of disqualifying Khaleda Zia legally. Because she has been sentenced in the High Court and we will go to the Appellate Division, which has many examples of allowing a convict to participate in the election.’
He provided the examples of Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and Dr. Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir. He said, ‘Though both of them were convicted in the HC, they participated in the election of 2008.’
BNP will submit Khaleda Zia’s nomination paper in five seats. If BNP faces problem, it will start a movement in the name of this. It is becoming obvious that BNP has prepared for this move long since.
Whether Dr. Kamal Hossain will participate in the election remain uncertain. Dr. Kamal said in different interviews that he is not interested in contesting in the election. However, a source in BNP said that Dr. Kamal is physically very ill. His popularity among the people is not that much.
If Khaleda goes to the polls, she will leave a seat for Dr. Kamal. Even if Kamal Hossain does not contest in the election, Gano Forum, Nagorik Oikko and a fraction of the United Front, which are under his leadership, will go to the polls.
BNP wants its alliance partners of Oikya Front and 20-party to contest in the election with the sheaf of paddy symbol to make this election a voice of the movement. However, BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan confirmed that whether they will go to the polls or not, it depends on the roles of the government and the Election Commission. If the EC fails to ensure a free, fair and neutral election, there is no possibility of BNP participating in the election.