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BNP’s new tactic for tackling rebel candidates

  • Published at 09:38 am November 21st, 2018
Rajib Dhar-BNP office
Supporters of BNP nomination seekers in front of BNP chairperson's Gulshan office, on Monday, November 19, 2018 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

So far, around 4,580 aspirants have collected nomination papers from the BNP to contest in 300 constituencies for the upcoming 11th general election

BNP is planning to initially nominate every aspirant it has interviewed for the upcoming 11th parliamentary election as part of a strategy to prevent rebel candidates from standing, the Dhaka Tribune has learned.

A number of BNP leaders associated with the main opposition party’s nomination board have confirmed the plan, which is based on a provision of the Representation of the People Order (RPO) and would be enacted in all 300 constituencies of the country.
 
Top BNP leaders claim it should also give the party a reservoir of backup candidates in each seat, helping it to maintain organizational strength in the run-up to polling day on December 30.

Initial nomination

On November 18, BNP interviewed 158 aspirants seeking nominations for 33 constituencies across Rangur district and 368 hopefuls for 41 constituencies across Rajshahi district.

Following these interviews, the 526 prospective candidates received letters signed by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir which confirmed their initial nominations.

BNP district committee member Advocate Abdul Halim was one of four candidates interviewed for the party ticket in Dinajpur 4.

“Four of us were interviewed (and) every one of us was initially nominated,” he said. “The name of the final candidate who will get nomination will be announced at a later date.”

Professor Shahadat Hossain Shaheen was also one of four aspirants interviewed for Rajshahi 1. “We were given initial nominations and were directed to submit nomination forms for final evaluation,” he said.

Deadline

According to a number of BNP leaders, the Representation of the People Order allows any political party to accept multiple nomination forms submitted by aspirants from the same constituency.

When a party announces the name of the final candidate for a particular constituency, the applications of the other aspirants become invalid.

BNP strategists believe this method will prevent unsuccessful aspirants from becoming rebel candidates, as the final announcement will not be made until after the November 28 deadline for submitting nomination forms.

According to the schedule for 11th parliamentary polls, the evaluation of prospective candidates must then be completed by December 2 with all withdrawals done by December 9 - three weeks before the December 30 poll.

“The final announcement regarding candidacies will be made a day or two before December 9,” a BNP standing committee member said on condition of anonymity.

“It will prevent people from submitting forms as rebel aspirants (as) we are initially nominating multiple aspirants in every constituency.”

Two other standing committee members of BNP, also preferring not to be named, said this strategy will additionally allow the party to ensure multiple reserve candidates in a particular constituency and encourage multiple aspirants to continue campaigning, increasing the organizational strength of the party.

So far, around 4,580 aspirants have collected nomination papers from the BNP ahead of the election.

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