Although BNP leaders yesterday collected nomination form on behalf of party Chairperson Khaleda Zia for the upcoming Bogura-6 by-polls, she said she won’t bid to contest the election, according to one of her aides.
“The nomination form was sent to Khaleda Zia, but she did not sign it. She said she will not join the polls,” Khaleda’s personal secretary Abdus Sattar told The Daily Star yesterday.
The former prime minister, now serving jail sentence for graft, also expressed anger at the party’s decision to join the by-election on June 24, said BNP sources.
BNP leaders in Bogura collected the form from the district’s returning officer yesterday morning. Later in the day, the form reached Khaleda through the official channel, the sources said.
They said Abdus Sattar sent the form to the jail authorities who forwarded it to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical College Hospital where the BNP chief has been undergoing treatment since April 1.
A party source told this paper on receiving the form, Khaleda wanted to know who took the decision to take part in the by-polls and why she had not been informed about it earlier.
With her reservation about the decision, BNP’s participation in the election has now become uncertain, the source added.
Bogura-6 constituency fell vacant after BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who won the seat in the December 30 national election, did not take oath as a member of parliament within the stipulated 90 days from the date of the first meeting of parliament.
In the general polls, the BNP won six out of the 300 parliamentary seats. The Gonoforum, a partner in the BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront, bagged only two.
On many occasions, including on the election day, the alliance rejected the election, demanded fresh polls and said they would not join parliament.
Khaleda had filed nomination for three seats, but the applications were scrapped since she was convicted in graft cases.
On Tuesday, party’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman, now in London, held a meeting with Bogura BNP leaders at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters through video conferencing and decided to take part in the by-polls, said party sources.
The meeting also decided that five party leaders, including Khaleda, will file nomination papers for the election, they said.
Syrul Kabir Khan, an official of Khaleda’s press wing, however, said Tarique had agreed on collecting the form on behalf of Khaleda at the request of the party leaders in Bogura. After Khaleda decided not to run for the MP, Tarique agreed with that as well, he said.
Party sources said BNP leaders GM Siraj, Mahbubur Rahman, Rezaul Karim Badshah and Jaoynul Abedin Chan would file their nomination papers today, which is the last date for that.
Most of the senior BNP leaders are not interested in joining the by-polls as they fear possible irregularities in the election, said party sources.
“We boycotted the [recent] upazila election, then why should we participate in the by-polls?” one of them asked while talking to this reporter.
Meanwhile, talking to journalists at the Nayapaltan office yesterday, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general of the party, also said they were yet to decide on joining the election.
Khaleda landed in jail in February last year after she was sentenced to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The High Court later extended her jail term to 10 years.
In Zia Charitable Trust graft case, she was jailed for seven years.