The BNP has shortlisted two mayoral candidates for the December 22 Narayanganj City Corporation election.
They are ABM Kamal, Narayanganj city BNP secretary, and Shakhawat Hossain, a leader of the city BNP.
The party is expected to name its final candidate today.
Sources said the party was not considering Taimur Alam Khondoker as a candidate anymore, mainly because of his repeated refusal to contest in the polls.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia last night held a closed-door meeting with Taimur, Kamal and Shakhawat and then made the shortlist, party sources said.
Talking to The Daily Star Taimur said he categorically told Khaleda that it was meaningless to take part in the election under the present “subservient” Election Commission.
Shakhawat Hossain, also a prosecution counsel in the Narayanganj seven-murder case, confirmed and that he and Kamal were indeed on the shortlist.
Meanwhile, a member of the Osman family is likely to submit nomination paper for the mayoral post to contest the Narayanganj City Corporation polls.
“Either Parvin Osman [wife of late Jatiya Party MP Nasim Osman] or I may submit nomination paper to fight for the mayoral post in case nomination paper of any vital candidate is declared void,” Salim Osman, a Jatiya Party lawmaker from Narayanganj-5 [Sadar and Bandar], told The Daily Star.
“We will wait until the Election Commission declares nomination of Awami League mayoral hopeful Selina Hayat Ivy valid. There might be different mistakes in filing the nomination. It could also happen that the Election Commission may declare her nomination papers void. Therefore, we must have preparations for that,” he added.
Salim's yesterday's announcement indicates the Osmans will try their best to fight against Ivy, who is known as a political rival of the family.
Although Salim indicated that JP was likely to contest the polls, several leaders of the main opposition in parliament yesterday told The Daily Star that the party is yet to take a final decision to that end.
Asked, co-chair of JP GM Quader said there is little possibility that JP would contest the NCC polls. He however said party chief HM Ershad would take the final decision.
Sources in Narayanganj said the Osman family was trying to understand Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's sentiment if any of them contested against Ivy.
Salim told The Daily Star that the premier has given Ivy nomination. “Therefore, we will work in favour of her. But we should remain prepared in case her nomination is declared void.”
The Osman family is also trying to secure Jatiya Party nomination for Nasim Osman's wife. Nasim Osman, elder brother of Shamim, was Jatiya Party's lawmaker who died on April 30, 2014.
If Nasim's widow secured JP nomination, the Osman family would work for her, meaning a possible split in AL vote bank and an obstacle to Ivy's road to victory, said locals of Narayanganj.
The locals think anti-incumbency feeling is another reason for Ivy to be worried about. She is the sitting mayor. Moreover, her party has been in power since January 2009. If national politics dominates the city polls, Ivy may face difficulty to win the battle, they observed.
In the past, voters in most cases were disappointed with the ruling party in the free and fair elections by opting for opposition candidates.
During the BNP-led government, elections to Dhaka and Chittagong city corporations in 1994 and polls to Chittagong City Corporation again in 2005 were largely free and fair. In those cases, the BNP-backed mayoral candidates faced humiliating defeat to their opponents supported by the then opposition AL.
The same thing happened in the previous parliamentary elections until 2014 as well. No ruling party returned to power in a free and fair election after ending the tenure of its government.
For the government and the AL, the Narayanganj city election is also a test of their popularity. It is also a test for the Election Commission whether it can be able to restore public confidence in it by holding the polls in a free and fair manner.
AL nominated mayoral candidate Selina Hayat Ivy has meanwhile collected her nomination form.
Ivy's representative yesterday collected the nomination form from Returning Officer Nurujjaman Talukdar of the local Election Commission office around 11:30am.
The AL Parliamentary Board on Friday unanimously nominated Ivy to contest the polls with the electoral symbol “boat”.
Earlier, the party's Narayanganj city unit at an extended meeting picked three leaders, excluding Ivy, as possible candidates for the mayoral post for consideration of the central body.
The unit recommended the names of city unit President Anwar Hossain, Siddhirganj upazila unit President Mojibur Rahman and Bandar upazila unit President MA Rashid.