DNCC Mayor Polls: Khaleda likely on campaign trail
12:00 AM, January 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:05 AM, January 12, 2018

DNCC Mayor Polls: Khaleda plans to join campaign

'Ministers, MPs to work behind the scenes for AL candidate'

Khaleda Zia is planning to take part in the campaign for BNP-led 20-party alliance's mayor candidate in the Dhaka North City Corporation by-polls on February 26.

The combine will form ward-based committees for the electioneering while another committee, comprising top leaders of the alliance, will work to engage all allies in the campaign, party sources said.

The ruling Awami League is also contemplating forming such ward-based committees.

Besides, the ministers and the MPs from the party, who cannot join the electioneering due to the electoral codes of conduct, will be asked to work from behind the curtain to ensure the victory of the party candidate, said AL insiders. 

The BNP-led alliance plans to announce the name of its candidate on Saturday while the AL on Tuesday.

The BNP and its allies have already decided to nominate a single mayoral candidate for the DNCC by-polls. On the other hand, the AL is yet to discuss the possible mayor candidate with its grand alliance partners.

Talking to The Daily Star, Gonotantri Party presidium member Nurur Rahman Selim and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD faction) President Sharif Nurul Ambia claimed that the AL didn't discuss the issue with them.

If the Awami League names its candidate on January 16, they said, he or she will be the party's "own candidate".

Several AL leaders discussed the party's preparations for the forthcoming by-polls during a secretary-level meeting at the party president's Dhanmondi office yesterday.

The leaders expressed concerns that the election might not take place due to some legal complications. However, they will take an all-out preparations believing that the polls will indeed take place, they said.

At the meeting, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said if any legal complications arose, it was the Election Commission who would face it. Therefore, the party must prepare itself, according to several meeting participants.

BNP insiders said senior leaders from the party would regularly join the election campaign, which is also likely to be participated by Khaleda for a few days.

The BNP chairperson had taken part in the last DNCC election campaign. She had to face some obstacles and at one occasion, her motorcade came under attack.

“We will sit on Saturday night to finalise the [mayor] candidate. WE will also finalise the strategy for contesting the election,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Star.

The party will hold a standing committee meeting tomorrow night at its Gulshan office.

All the front and associate organisations would also join the campaign for the mayor candidate.

"Most probably, Tabith Awal will get the party nomination, but the alliance's candidate will be finalised on Saturday night,” said Moudud Ahmed, party's standing committee member.

He also said the BNP-led alliance would nominate a single candidate for the mayoral post and all the alliance leaders would work together to ensure the victory of the candidate.

The post of the DNCC mayor fell vacant after Annisul Huq passed away on November 30 last year. The Local Government Division declared the post vacant on December 1.

In the last election held on April 28, 2015, BNP-backed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal boycotted the polls on the voting day, alleging widespread rigging.

Party leaders said the BNP-nominated candidate will start exchanging views with the ward level leaders from Sunday.

Tabith Awal said, "As a candidate, I am collecting information about the newly added wards [in the DNCC areas]. If I get nomination from the party, I will hold meeting with the BNP's ward level leaders from Sunday to know their views." 

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