BNP struggles to pick single UP candidates
With the party's sixth national council less than a month away, the BNP is likely to face intra-party conflicts at the grassroots over picking single chairman candidates for the ensuing union parishad polls.
For the first time in the country's history, elections to UP chairman posts are going to be held on partisan lines. Polls to over 700 UPs will be held in the first phase on March 22. Sources in BNP said multiple chairman candidates have emerged in more than half of the UPs.
According to the polls schedule declared by the Election Commission, February 22 is the last date for filing nominations. The BNP is likely to finalise the list of its nominees by February 21.
The rest of around 3,500 union parishads will go to polls in different phases until June 4.
A senior BNP leader said they have already finalised the names of around 200 UP chairmen hopefuls from Barisal, Noakhali and some others districts.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Wednesday directed party high ups to stop the ongoing reform at grassroots as it might trigger infighting ahead of the party's March 19 national council.
Accordingly, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has asked some district leaders to stop the preparations for holding district councils, said party sources.
Talking to The Daily Star, some BNP leaders involved in picking party candidates said although the party's high command stopped holding the district councils for now, the ensuing UP polls might set off infighting in the party.
The BNP central leaders tasked five grassroots leaders -- district president and secretary general; president, secretary general and organising secretary of union -- and the party's MP candidate concerned in the 2008 national polls with suggesting the names of UP chairman candidates. But the six leaders from many districts could not recommend single candidates.
“As we received several names from the six leaders, it has become very difficult for us to pick one chairman candidate for each union,” said a member of the BNP national executive committee.
The problems could not be sorted out immediately as the party high ups never talked with the union level leaders, he added.
Besides, the party's MP candidates in the 2008 parliamentary polls suggested names of their personal favourites, said the leader.
BNP Joint Secretary General Mohammad Shahjahan, who is coordinating with party leaders on UP polls, yesterday told this correspondent that the emergence of multiple chairman aspirants would not be a big problem for the party.
Another senior BNP leader said it would be not easy for BNP to take strong action against any rebel candidate.
The BNP is going to hold the national council just three days ahead of the first phase of the UP polls. If the party takes strong actions against the rebels, it would affect the preparations for the party's national council, he added.