BNP is unlikely to participate in the upcoming elections to local government bodies, including upazila parishad and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).
After its worst defeat in the 11th parliamentary election, BNP has demanded cancellation of the election results and arranging a fresh general election under a non-party and neutral government.The party also said no election can be held in a free and fair manner under the current Awami League (AL) government and the Election Commission.
By-polls to DNCC mayoral post will now be held as the post fell vacant following the death of Annisul Huq on November 30, 2017. He was elected mayor on April 28, 2015.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a recent programme said the party will not participate in any more election under the current EC.
Asked whether the party will participate in upazila election and DNCC by-polls, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain on Wednesday told the daily sun that they are yet to discuss the matter at the party forum.
BNP vice-chairman Mohammad Shajahan said, “Our party secretary general has already said that BNP would not participate in any election under the current government and the EC.”
Party sources said BNP has taken a decision not to join the upazila elections and the city corporation elections as most of its leaders from grassroots to central level think that the party should boycott all the elections under the current EC and government.However, the party is likely to allow its interested leaders to join the elections independently instead of using the party symbol — the Sheaf of Paddy.
Talking to the daily sun, a senior leader of the BNP said that any of the party leaders can take part in the upazila election and the DNCC by-election but they have to resign from the party first and would not get the party symbol to contest.
Some BNP leaders think the party should participate in local government polls in a bid to get benefit of remaining in the field through polls campaign and to show the country’s people and the international community again that free and fair election is not possible under the party in power.
On the other hand, some other central leaders said their party’s participation in the upazila elections may invite further repression and harassment of their grassroots leaders and activists.
They also said it will be very difficult for their party candidates to contest the city corporation and upazila elections and carry out electioneering as many of their grassroots leaders and activists are in jail or on the run facing many cases filed before and during the national election.
The BNP leaders further said their party should now focus on reorganising their different units and associate bodies and take some effective programmes to revamp the party activities.
BNP insiders said the party standing committee recently held a meeting and elaborately discussed the upcoming local government elections but most of the leaders suggested boycotting the elections.
BNP’s mid-level leaders recently held a meeting at its Nayapaltan central office while most of them suggested boycotting the local government elections as party acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who joined the meeting through Skype, sought their opinions, meeting sources said.
Meanwhile, sources inside the 20-party alliance and Jatiya Oikya Front said other components of the opposition coalitions are likely to boycott the local government polls but their candidates may participate in it as independent candidates.