BNP may request more time for nominations
24 March 2015, Nirapad News: The BNP is yet to nominate mayoral candidates although the submission deadline for Dhaka and Chittagong city polls ends in less than a week.
A senior leader of the main political opposition said the BNP may request the Election Commission to modify the polls schedule to allow them more time without moving the election date. To this end, he said, a BNP delegation will soon meet with the Election Commission.
A BNP policymaker told some pro-BNP intellectuals and professionals will hold a meeting at 10 am today where they are likely to form a citizens’ committee, which will announce BNP’s mayoral candidates who will get the party’s blessings.
All local government elections, including the city polls are technically obligated to be non-partisan.
The party has more or less decided to back businessman Abdul Awal Mintoo for Dhaka north, but the party is yet to finalise a candidate for Dhaka south or Chittagong.
Insiders said Mirza Abbas, former Dhaka mayor and a party policymaker, is the first choice for Dhaka south. Abbas is, however, wanted in more than a dozen cases. There is an apprehension of legal complications even before the elections begin.
The party is currently mulling over two alternatives for Dhaka south, where Awami League has nominated Sayed Khokon, son of Dhaka’s first elected mayor. The BNP hopefuls are said to be BNP’s Dhaka city unit secretary Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel and central International Affairs Secretary Asaduzzaman Ripon.
“It is a tough selection because there are so many competent candidates. I am sure Madam [Khaleda Zia] will make the right choice,” said Mahbubur Rahman, a standing committee member also a former army chief.
According to another senior leader of the party, things got complicated in Chittagong after Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, adviser to the BNP chief and their first choice for Chittagong mayor, declined to contest.
“Madam talked to him over phone on Sunday night, but he was rigid about contesting the polls. However, efforts are on to persuade him,” the leader said.
A BNP leader from the port city told yesterday that most of them do not want the party to back incumbent Chittagong Mayor Manjur Alam again.
Instead, their first choice for mayor was Khosru and the alternatives could be former MP Wahedul Alam and businessman Abdus Salam. “But if the central command cannot settle on any of these three, then Manjur might get party blessings again,” he said.
City unit BNP General Secretary Shahadat Hossain has also expressed his intentions to contest for the mayor of Chittagong if Khosru cannot be convinced eventually, the leader said.