BNP has finally decided to participate in the elections to Rajshahi, Barishal and Sylhet city corporations in a bid to ‘protect its existence in the country’s election oriented politics’, party insiders said.
The party has been shocked by defeat in the recently held Khulna city polls. They brought allegations of irregularities in the elections and were in a dilemma over joining the election race for other cities, they said.“It is better to join the city corporation polls as there will be no benefit of staying away from the trend. We have to stay in the election race. It’s a big challenge for the party ahead of the next parliamentary polls as we didn’t join the previous one,” BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told the daily sun.
BNP insiders said a section of party leaders think that BNP should stay in the election race in any situation to protect its existence in the country’s election-oriented politics as the party has suffered a bad experience due to its boycott of the 10th national elections held on January 5, 2014.
“If we win, it’ll show our popularity and invigorate our party leaders and activists. If we lose the rigged polls like Khulna city, it will justify our demand for holding the national polls under a non-party election time administration,” said a central leader of BNP.
Chaired by BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, a meeting of the party standing committee on Monday night took the decision to join the election race for Rajshahi, Barishal and Sylhet city corporations, meeting sources said.
In the meeting, BNP policymakers expressed their different views about joining the city corporation polls but they finally decided to start the process of taking part in the local government polls and observe the situation in the upcoming Gazipur city polls for final decision, they said.
As per decision of the meeting, BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Tuesday at a press briefing announced that the party will sell nomination forms on Wednesday among people willing to contest the upcoming elections to Rajshahi, Sylhet and Barisal city corporations on its tickets.The BNP senior joint secretary general said BNP nomination seekers can collect form at Tk 10,000 each from BNP’s central office from 10:00am till 4:00pm on Wednesday and after filling it, the aspirants have to submit the forms to the BNP office along with Tk 25,000 security the next day.
Rizvi said the party nomination board will interview the aspirants for the three city polls, adding that the party will announce the schedule for taking interview of the aspirants later.
However, talking to the daily sun, another BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed said, “We have started process of joining Barishal, Rajshahi and Sylhet city polls scheduled to be held on July 30 through selling nomination forms. But it doesn’t mean that it is our final decision on joining polls.”
He said they have not taken final decision about the participation in city corporation elections. “We will see what happens in the upcoming Gazipur city election. Then, final decision will be taken in this regard,” he added.
Party sources said the BNP-led 20-party alliance will hold meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
According to the election schedule announced by the Election Commission, the deadline for the submission of nomination papers is June 28, while the dates for scrutinising those are July 1 and 2, and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is July 9.
BNP sources said the party may nominate Mujibur Rahman Sarwar as BNP mayoral candidate for Barishal city polls dropping incumbent mayor Ahsan Habib Kamal while existing Rajshahi mayor Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and Sylhet mayor Ariful Huq Chowdhury may get party nomination further.