Monday, January 1, 2007

January 3 - Last day for withdrawal of Nomination papers

AL, BNP busy with last-minute changes in nominations

In the face of growing discontents among the deprived aspirants, the high-ups in the Awami League- and the BNP-led alliances are making last-minute attempts to tackle the situation by changing nominations in a number of constituencies. After nominating candidates initially and instructing them to submit nomination papers accordingly, the high-ups of both the parties were busy till Saturday finalising the candidatures which must be completed by January 2, the day before the withdrawal of nomination papers. Hectic lobbying by the deprived candidates, demonstrations by their supporters and restive situation in different constituencies after the announcement of initial candidatures forced the major parties to change some of the nominations.

The parliamentary board of the AL held a series of meetings on Saturday and Sunday to tackle the situation in different constituencies and decided to make some changes in the nominations. Awami League joint general secretary, Obaidul Kader said the parliamentary board, headed by the party president Sheikh Hasina, would announce final list of nominees after reviewing the situation and changes might be made in a very few constituencies. Meanwhile, supporters of the deprived candidates were seen agitating in front of Hasina’a Sudha Sadan residence on Saturday. Supporters of AL leader Mizanul Haque Mizan gathered in front of Sudha Sadan in the morning and staged demonstration demanding cancellation of the nomination of Jatiya Party candidate Majibul Haque Chunnu for Kishoreganj-4 constitueny. One of the agitators even tried to set himself on fire before senior leaders intervened.

Though the Bangladesh Nationalist Party asked all aspirants, excepting the candidates certified by the party, to withdraw their candidature by January 3, a number of them are making last-minute attempts to grab nomination lobbying the party high-ups. The party took a strategy of initially naming multiple candidates for each constituency to hide its final candidates from rivals but a number of them are not willing to withdraw nomination papers. Grassroots-level BNP activists in constituencies where the alliance’s candidates are from other partners of the coalition are also angry with the nominations. Activists in a number of constituencies where candidates are from Jamaat-e-Islami openly demonstrated against the nominations. Amid the restive situation, the BNP secretary general, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, was forced to issue an open statement asking ‘dummy candidates’ to withdraw candidature and threatened action if the instruction was violated.

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