AL jubilant over polls victory

Leaders see BNP joining polls as positive sign

The ruling Awami League is really happy with the just concluded municipality polls.

According to AL leaders, the BNP's participation in the polls and its unwillingness to go for any street agitation programmes to protest the polls results was the cherry on top of their “landslide victory”.

AL chief Sheikh Hasina last night met her party leaders at the Gono Bhaban and congratulated them on the victory. Sweetmeats were distributed there.

Sources at the meeting quoted her as saying that the BNP had no alternative to joining the polls.

The AL believes that the BNP's participation in the polls would contribute to the beginning of a new democratic trend and political tolerance in the country, sources said.

The leaders expressed satisfaction over the election results having secured 168 mayor posts. The BNP secured only 19.

In the last municipality polls, AL-backed candidates had secured 90 mayor posts while the pro-BNP ones got 95.

"The BNP rejects polls results and it was the old political culture. But the party stayed in the race and didn't announce any destructive programmes … it's a beauty of democracy," said AL presidium member Nooh-Ul-Alam Lenin.

Talking to The Daily Star, he also claimed that after a long time the BNP had started positive politics.

Two more AL central leaders told The Daily Star that the BNP proved it wants to return to positive politics by not announcing any destructive programmes.

"The BNP needed an exit route to return to normal politics and through municipality polls, it got the chance," said an AL central leader, wishing anonymity.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at a programme at her Gono Bhaban residence, also appreciated the BNP for joining the municipality polls.

At a press conference held at the AL president's Dhanmondi office, Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif welcomed the BNP for taking part in the polls.

Terming the polls “most fair and impartial in history”, he said the BNP finally accepted this government's legitimacy by taking part in the polls.

Sources in the AL said the party would not be lenient towards AL rebel candidates even though the party did well in the elections. If the AL becomes lenient towards rebels, more would be encouraged to ignore party decisions in the upcoming union parishad polls.

In 19 municipalities, AL dissidents won the mayor posts.

The AL already suspended around 55 of its leaders for running for mayor ignoring party decision to back someone else. The fate of the suspended leaders would be decided at AL's central working committee meeting to be held on January 9, sources said. 

Talking with The Daily Star, a number of party leaders admitted their mistakes in selecting candidates and blamed party lawmakers for defeats in some municipalities.