Chairman aspirants backed by the ruling Awami League and the BNP will have to face more party rebels in the third phase of the upazila parishad polls going to be held in 81 upazilas on March 15.
The dissidents paid little heed to their parties' hectic negotiations and threats of expulsion to keep them off the electoral race.
However, the ruling AL supported candidates are up against more rebels than those from their political arch rival BNP.
The AL has at least 79 rebel candidates for the chairman posts in 47 upazilas while the BNP has 60 in 36 upazilas, according to sources and our district correspondents.
This implies the AL has been able to pick single candidate for the chairman posts in 34 upazilas and the BNP in 42, after leaving three chairman posts for its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami.
Both parties also have dissidents vying for the vice-chairmen posts in several upazilas.
In the second phase of the polls held on February 27, AL had 57 rebel chairman candidates in 42 out of 117 upazilas while BNP had 51 rebels in 41 upazilas.
In the first phase, held on February 19, rebels caused a great trouble for the AL- and BNP-backed candidates.
That time too, the AL and BNP had made frantic efforts to manage the rebels in more than 50 of the 97 upazilas that went to polls. But the effort paid off little.
With this bitter experience, both the camps have now put even more vigorous efforts to keep the rebels out of the polls. District and upazila-level leaders of the parties have been holding meetings with the rebels. The high commands have also stepped in, but failed in most cases.
Zafor Ali, general secretary of Kurigram district unit AL, told The Daily Star that they had tried their best to ensure lone candidates but failed. "If every candidate feels confident we have little to do," he said.
In Kurigram, AL-backed candidates face rebels in all the three upazilas that are going to polls on March 15.
Matin Sarker, AL general secretary for Mymensingh district, said they had taken every measure as instructed by the party high command to ensure lone candidate.
"We selected candidates through grassroots votes, but it is unfortunate that the rebels did not agree to that," he said adding that the party might have to taste defeat where it had to face the rebels.
In all the upazilas in Mymensingh, AL candidates are facing party rebels alongside their opponents supported by the BNP.
The Alfadanga upazila in Faridpur has the highest number of AL rebels. Eight AL dissidents are vying for the chairman post here.
Local AL MP and the party's former organising secretary Abdur Rahman, however, claimed that six of the rebels had openly supported the party-backed candidate.
As for the BNP rebels, Ghior upazila in Manikganj has the most of them. Here BNP has eight rebels contesting for the chairman post.
Asked SA Kabir, organising secretary of Manikganj district, yesterday said seven of the rebels had already extended their support to the party-backed candidate. The one who did not would be expelled from the party.
BNP is also facing rebels in four of the five upazilas in Mymensingh. Asked Motahar Hossain Talukder, general secretary of the district BNP, said they had tried to pick single candidate for each of the posts, but many did not respond to the effort.
In Phulbaria upazila of the district, BNP has three rebels for the chairman post. Anwar Hossain Badsha, one of the BNP rebels, said the party's decision of not supporting him was not very wise.
BNP has already expelled at least 30 district- and upazila-level leaders for their refusal to quit the polls.