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5 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 September, 2018 11:41:39 PM
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AL, BNP prepare for nat’l polls

Abu Jakir and Rafiqul Islam Azad
AL, BNP prepare for nat’l polls

The Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are going to lock horns in the coming general election. Both parties are going all-out for contesting the polls. As the time draws near, all political parties, including the AL and the BNP, are preparing for the 11th parliamentary elections. Smaller political parties are forging alliances and bargaining with large parties over parliamentary seat sharing. However, there are debates and discussions on whether all the political parties would happily participate in the polls or not.

The BNP had boycotted the last parliamentary election on January 5, 2014, and 153 lawmakers of the AL were elected unopposed. BNP leaders have been publicly saying that they would not participate in the next poll without their party chief, Khaleda Zia, sentenced to five-year imprisonment in a corruption case. But party insiders say they are always ready for contesting the polls.

The party has taken part in all local body elections held recently in a bid to keep its leaders and workers at the grassroots level active. Khaleda Zia has instructed her party's central leaders to get ready for the national polls. The BNP has already started forming polling station-based committees across the country, the insiders added.

Talking to The Independent, BNP leaders said they are prepared for any movement and the general election. The BNP is ready to take part in the elections if the government accepts their demands through talks and understanding. Otherwise, the party, along with other likeminded alliances and parties, will take to the street to realise their demands, said its leaders.

The party is fully prepared for the next elections. It has more than one candidate in each of the 300 constituencies, the leaders added.

They, however, cautioned that they would not take part in the election with Khaleda Zia in jail. They also said they wanted a poll-time neutral administration, dissolution of Parliament and a level playing field for all before the election schedule is announced and deployment of the Army during the poll. BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, said the BNP is prepared for both movement and elections. "As a major political party, it is not necessary to make preparations for elections separately. We have preparations for the elections, along with carrying out a movement," he added.

The former minister said the party has more than one candidate in each of the constituencies. He accused the AL of hatching a conspiracy to keep the BNP and its chairperson outside the election process. He said the ruling party would not be able to hold another January 5-like election again.

Echoing Dr Mosharraf, BNP vice-chairman Barkatullah Bulu said they have the necessary preparations for the polls. He also said people are annoyed with the present government for its "misrule and misdeeds". “We will not have to carry out a poll campaign. People will cast their votes for the 'sheaf of paddy' (BNP’s poll symbol) if the election are held in a free and fair manner

and they can cast their votes without fear,” he added.

He mentioned the results of the two suspended polling centres in Sylhet City Corporation (SCC), where the ruling party candidate got only 527 votes and the winning BNP candidate bagged 2,107 votes. He said such results could be seen elsewhere in the country if the elections are held in a free and fair manner.

The AL has already completed 90 per cent of preparations for contesting the next poll. The party is now working on finalising nominations for its popular acceptable leaders. Party insiders said their nomination list is almost complete.

The party has started its election campaign from the very beginning of this year by offering prayers at the Sylhet Shahjalal Mazar.

Talking to The Independent, AL presidium member Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan said their preparations for the polls is almost complete. He also said AL leaders, especially the nomination aspirants, have been conducting mass contacts, workers' meetings, yard meetings across the country in the last one year.

“So, I will say that our preparation is good and now we are carrying out informal campaign. After the election schedule is announced, we will conduct formal campaign in full swing,” he added.

Replying to a question on the BNP’s participation, the senior AL leader said the BNP must join the polls.               

When contacted, AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the AL starts its preparations for the next poll soon after an election is held. The ruling party has finalised its candidates for contesting the next polls after several surveys were conducted by the party high command, with support from law enforcement agencies. The party high-ups will declare the names of its candidates after the announcement of the election schedule, he added.

AL presidium member Kazi Zafarullah said the ruling party is ready to contest the national polls. “We have made all kinds of preparation for the national polls,” he added.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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