Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is likely to participate in the upcoming elections to the Dhaka South (DSCC) and Dhaka North (DNCC) City Corporations scheduled to be held in January next year.
“We didn’t take any decision yet. We will decide about participating in the city corporation elections in our standing committee meeting,” BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told the Daily Sun on Saturday.After the debacle in the 11th parliamentary election held under Awami League government on December 30, 2018, BNP decided that it would not participate in any election under the current government and the Election Commission. But later the party changed the decision and participated in various polls.
BNP earlier boycotted the DNCC mayoral by-polls held in February this year. It also did not participate in the Upazila elections held between March and July this year. The party even expelled some leaders and activists over contesting the Upazila polls in violation of its decision.
BNP, however, contested in the by-polls to Bogura-6 on June 24 this year. It also participated in eight Upazila elections held on October 14.
BNP insiders said the party wants to participate in the elections to Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) as they want to stay in the filed through carrying on the election campaign.
“Our party (BNP) is making preparations to participate in the city corporation elections. Mirza Abbas may contest for the mayoral post of the DSCC and Tabith Awal for DNCC,” said a central leader of the party.
BNP sources said it is almost confirmed that Tabith Awal is the mayoral candidate of the BNP for the DNCC while if Mirza Abbas does not want to contest then his wife Afroza Abbas or BNP joint secretaries general Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and Engr Ishraque Hossain are also alternative candidates for the party to contest in the DSCC mayoral polls.Tabith Awal, who is the son of BNP vice-chairman Abdul Awal Mintoo, ran against Awami League-backed Annisul Haq in April 28, 2015 election for mayoral polls in the DNCC but boycotted the polls on the voting day, alleging widespread rigging.
He was also given the nomination to contest the DNCC by-elections on February 26 last year following the death of mayor Annisul, but he stayed away from contesting the polls, as the BNP decided not to take part in the elections at the last moment.
BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas ran against Awami League-backed Sayeed Khokon for the mayoral post in the previous election to the DSCC after the Awami League-led government had split the Dhaka city corporation into two in November 2011.
Annisul Huq was elected mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation while Sayeed Khokon was elected mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation in the last city polls of Dhaka.
Tenures of the two city corporations will expire on May 11 and May 14 next year respectively.
Talking to the Daily Sun, a senior leader of BNP said the choice of party candidates would depend on the prevailing political and overall situation. “BNP may stay away at the final stage, even after participating in the city polls, if free, fair and acceptable local government election is not ensured,” he added.
According to the Local Government (City Corporation) Act-2009, polls should be held within 180 days before the expiry of the tenure of an incumbent mayor. The tenure begins from the day of holding the first meeting of a city corporation.
The Election Commission wants to hold elections to Dhaka city corporations in January next year, EC senior secretary Md Alamgir told a press conference recently.
“The voting of the two city corporations will be held in mid-January or at the end of January next year,” Alamgir said.