BNP fails to nominate candidates in 25 UPs
The BNP could not nominate anyone within the deadline yesterday for contesting the chairman posts in at least 25 Union Parishads in the second phase of elections for a lack of interest among its grassroots.
Party men in some districts came up with poor responses to the polls since they fear harassment by activists of the ruling Awami League, said a party insider.
Six-hundred and fifty UPs will go to polls in the second phase on March 31.
Madaripur BNP district unit president Abu Bakar Siddique said the party could nominate candidates in only seven of 15 UPs under Sadar upazila for the second phase.
A majority of the possible candidates have left home for continuous threats from the ruling party candidates and their supporters, said Shirajul Islam Chowdhury, president of the Gopalganj district party unit.
BNP grassroots sent the names of candidates in 12 of 21 UPs in Gopalganj Sadar to the party's central office. Of them, only six candidates submitted nomination papers yesterday.
In Kotalipara upazila, the party got the names of candidates in six UPs out of 14, Shirajul said.
BNP Joint Secretary General Mohammad Shahjahan admitted that the party did not have candidates in some UPs for what he said was torture of AL men.
The opposition also does not have any chairman candidate in 70 of 738 UPs where elections will be held in the first phase on March 22.
Some 2,800 more UPs will go to polls in four other phases until June.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission decided to request the LGRD ministry to suspend Fulgazi upazila chairman of Feni for influencing UP polls.
It already suspended voting in six UPs of the upazila, scheduled for March 31.
Abdul Alim, chairman of Fulgazi upazila parishad, last week pressured returning officers of the six UPs to receive nomination papers of only those candidates selected by himself.
As Alim, general secretary of the upazila unit AL, threatened the officer not to receive nomination papers of other candidates, Feni polls officers sent a letter to the EC describing the situation, EC officials said.
The EC found the accusation to be true upon an inquiry.
"We will send a letter to the ministry either tonight (last night) or tomorrow morning (today) requesting for action against the upazila chairman," EC's Secretary Sirazul Islam told The Daily Star last night.
Chairman Abdul Alim, however, rejected the allegation, saying that some BNP men were carrying out a propaganda campaign against him.
Yesterday was the last day for the withdrawal of nomination papers of the first phase and the filing of nomination papers for the second phase.
Apart from a few scattered incidents, candidates withdrew and submitted nomination papers peacefully.
In Jessore, a local BNP leader was kept locked inside a UP office allegedly by AL men for submitting nomination papers in Churamankathi under sadar upazila. Police later rescued him, reports a correspondent.
In Sherpur, AL-nominated chairman aspirants of nine UPs under Nakla upazila submitted nomination papers after marching in procession in violation of electoral rules.
As per the rules, all sorts of procession and showdown are prohibited during the filing of nomination papers.
The EC yesterday extended the deadline for a day for submitting nomination papers in three UPs under Pashuram upazila of Feni.
Meanwhile, a BNP delegation led by its standing committee member Moyeen Khan met Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad yesterday afternoon.
After the meeting, Khan said the EC was in the absolute grip of the government.