Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad on Tuesday announced that polls would be held in 236 municipalities for the first time on party lines on Dec 30.
In response, the BNP spokesperson, Asaduzzaman Ripon, came up with the party’s decision on the polls at a media conference on Friday after party chief Khaleda Zia met leading figures of the party and its allies in the past two days.
Ripon said the party had decided to take part in the municipal election.
He, however, set some conditions for the Election Commission, including one that called for the voting to be deferred by 15 days.
Election Commissioner Mobarak said, “There is no problem if you seek anything. But you should have seen whether the demand can be met.”
“There is no scope to defer the voting,” he added.
The CEC had said earlier while announcing the schedule that the commission would not be able to hold the polls from January to March because of the compulsions of publishing an updated voter list on Jan 31, SSC exams in February and HSC tests in March.
Before and after the boycott of national election in January 2014, the BNP had joined local government polls.
It contested the elections to the three city corporations in Dhaka and Chittagong in April after a ‘failed’ movement demanding a snap general election.
The party, however, announced boycott midway through the voting in the city corporations alleging vote rigging.
The ruling Awami League on Thursday decided to nominate single candidates for the municipal polls following recommendations by local leaders.
It asked the grassroots leaders to send names of aspirants within Nov 30.
The last day for the submission of nomination papers is Dec 3.
Jatiya Party has also begun the process to nominate its candidates for the municipal polls.
Its Chairman HM Ershad is scheduled to meet the aspirants on Nov 29.
This is the first time mayor candidates of municipalities are getting the chance to contest the polls with the nomination and symbol of any of the 40 parties registered with the EC.
Jamaat-e-Islami has been barred from the local government polls, as it was from the national election, because its registration as a political party was cancelled.
Independent mayor candidates will also be able to fight in the municipal polls, if they can get support of 100 voters. Former mayors will not need to submit list of 100 supporters to fight as independent candidate.
Balloting for general and reserved councillor posts has remained non-partisan in municipal polls.
EC officials said no party submitted list of nominated mayor candidates until Friday.
Commissioner Mobarak said there would be no bar on submission of nomination papers certified by party chief or general secretary.
“If the parties select any representative to authorise nominations, they will have to send the name, specimen signature and post of the representative to the EC and returning officer by Nov 28,” he said.
Candidates through advertisement
Bikalpadhara Bangladesh President AQM BAdruddoza Chowdhury has run advertisements asking nomination aspirants to contact its officials in eight divisions.
The candidates of the party will be able to contest in the polls with its ‘winnowing fan’ symbol, according to the advertisement.
EC officials said many of the registered political parties may cash in on the opportunity to earn some quick money from the candidates since the rules do not say how long one has to be a member of the party to be a contender.
Many of the aspirants would choose other parties if they fail to get nominations from their own parties in the last moment, they said.