BNP wants to participate in the upcoming city corporation elections as a test case to observe the roles of the incumbent Election Commission ahead of the next general election and the party has already started its activities informally to win the city polls, BNP insiders said.
Asked about BNP’s participation in the upcoming city polls, BNP Standing Committee Member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said, “We are yet to take decision about joining the polls. If we participate in the election and people can get scope to cast their votes, we must win in all the city corporation polls.”
“The city corporation election will be a big test for the current Election Commission, as it will reveal how the commission can protect people’s voting rights,” he added.
The EC has already announced schedule of Rangpur City Corporation election which will be held on December 21. It has also planned holding elections to five other city corporations - Gazipur, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Khulna and Barisal - by August 2018 before the next parliamentary election.
Elections to four city corporations- Dhaka North, Dhaka South, Chittagong and Khulna city corporations - were held on April 28, 2015 and Narayanganj City Corporation on December 22 last year. BNP mayoral candidate Monirul Haque Sakku was elected mayor in the Comilla City Corporation election held on March 30 this year.
Elections to the city corporations in Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal and Sylhet were held on June 15, 2013 and Gazipur on July 6 the same year, while all the BNP-backed candidates won the polls.
However, the Awami League-backed candidate won in the Rangpur City Corporation election, which was held on December 20, 2012.
BNP insiders said the party is desperate to retain their current position through winning in all the city corporation elections and it has already started doing some groundwork, including resolving any organisational crisis and trying to assess public support ahead of the polls.
The party is thinking of choosing its maximum candidates from the current mayors to contest the upcoming six city corporation elections, the sources added.
Talking to the daily sun, a top leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) said the party high command does not want to take any risk by nominating new faces to contest the city corporation polls, as they think achieving victory is very much important for the party ahead of the next general election.
“The city corporation elections are going to be held before the general elections. We’ll try our best to win the city polls as victory in the city elections will increase our popularity and confidence among the party leaders, activists and supporters ahead of the next general polls,” he added.
Some senior leaders of BNP said the party’s mayoral candidates for Gazipur, Sylhet, Khulna and Rajshahi city corporations may remain unchanged, as they are considered ‘much stronger’ than other aspirants to contest the upcoming city elections.
Asked about participating in the upcoming city corporation elections, including Rangpur city corporation, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told daily sun, “We haven’t finalised decision about participating in the city corporation elections yet. We’ll inform about it after taking final decision.”
“However, we have all-out preparations to participate in any election,” he added.
BNP insiders said Rangpur district BNP general secretary Royees Ahmed and the city unit vice president Kawsar Kamal Babla want to get nominations from the party to contest the mayoral posts in the upcoming Rangpur city corporation polls.
Current city mayor MA Mannan and party leader Hasan Sarker are also seeking nominations for mayoral post in the Gazipur city polls.
Sylhet city mayor Ariful Huq Chowdhury, district unit BNP general secretary Nasim Hussain and city BNP general secretary Badruzzaman want nominations from BNP to contest the Sylhet city polls.
In Barisal, current city mayor Ahsan Habib Kamal, former city mayor and BNP joint secretary general Mojibar Rahman Sarwar want to get party nominations for the city polls.
“If party nominates me, I want to contest the mayoral post in Barisal city polls,” BNP organising secretary Bilkis Jahan Shirin told the daily sun.
Sources inside BNP said current mayor Moniruzzaman Moni and district BNP President Shafiqul Alam Mona want to contest the race for mayoral posts in the upcoming Khulna city polls.
Current mayor Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul and city BNP general secretary Shafiqul Haque Milon are the aspirants to get nominations for the race of mayoral post in Rajshahi City Corporation elections.