The ruling Awami League yesterday unveiled the list of its final candidates in 240 constituencies for the December 30 election with its chief Sheikh Hasina contesting the polls from only one seat for the first time in her political career.
Hasina will run only from Gopalganj-3, a constituency in her home district, leaving Rangpur-6 for Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. The AL chief had filed nomination papers for the two constituencies.
In the parliamentary polls since 1986, Hasina had contested from more than one seat.
This time, no one in her party is contesting from more than one constituency.
The AL will leave 40 seats for the Jatiya Party, a key component of the AL-led grand electoral alliance, according to AL insiders.
The ruling party also finalised the list of 16 candidates from its six partners in the alliance for taking part in the election with the AL's electoral symbol “boat”.
It, however, has not left any seats for more than 100 parties, including 66 Islamic parties, which are also in the grand alliance.
The AL issued letters signed by Hasina to its candidates for submission to the returning officers (ROs) in their constituencies by tomorrow, the last day for finalising candidature.
The ROs will then allocate them the AL's electoral symbol "Boat" on December 10 for starting formal electioneering the same day.
An AL delegation will submit the list of its final candidates to the Election Commission today, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said at a press briefing at the party's Dhanmondi office.
"We have completed nominating our final candidates. Most of them got letters [from the party]," he said.
Those nominated contenders, who did not get letters, can collect those from party Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
The AL had primarily fielded 281 candidates in 264 constituencies. The nomination papers of three of them were rejected during scrutiny.
There were multiple AL aspirants in 17 constituencies.
Yesterday, the party picked final candidates in the seats, leaving out a number of sitting lawmakers.
It chose not to give nominations to as many as 46 incumbent MPs, and instead picked new faces in their constituencies.
Besides, it gave the party ticket to eight candidates who were elected in the 2014 election as independent candidates.
The AL also fielded candidates in eight constituencies where the incumbent lawmakers are from the JP, the Workers Party and the Bangladesh Nationalist Front.
Moreover, the party picked 20 women candidates and 18 leaders from minority communities for contesting the election.
The AL left five seats for the Workers Party, three for the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Inu), three for the Bikolpodhara Bangladesh, two each for the Tarikat Federation and the Jatiya Party (Manju) and one for the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Ambia). They will run for the polls with the AL's electoral symbol “boat”.
The ruling party, however, left no seat for over 100 parties that joined the AL-led grand alliance, seeking to contest the polls under the alliance's banner. More than half of those are also in the JP-led 57-party electoral alliance.
For example, the AL did not leave any constituency for the Bangladesh National Alliance (BNA) led by former BNP minister Nazmul Huda. The BNA, a combine of 31 parties, joined the grand alliance about a year ago.
The AL left only three seats for the Bikolpodhara Bangladesh, which is leading an eight-party alliance.
About seat-sharing, Quader said, "Everyone expects more. We cannot give more than what we have given."
Candidature in two to four seats remains unresolved though it was supposed to be settled last night, mentioned the AL general secretary.
He also pointed out that his party would leave 40 to 42 seats for the JP.
The JP, which is leading the 57-party electoral alliance, has fielded 233 candidates for contesting the polls with its electoral symbol "plough".
The party, however, has not left any seat for its partners.
JP sources told this newspaper that there are seven constituencies where both the AL and the JP have fielded candidates. The JP is now asking the AL to leave the seats for its candidates.
Newly appointed JP Secretary General Moshiur Rahman Ranga said his party may contest the polls in 45 constituencies under the grand alliance's banner.
"The names of the party candidates will be finalised in a day or two," he said at the party's Banani office.
He mentioned that his party will roll out its electoral manifesto in a couple of days.
Around two weeks ago when the AL primarily picked its candidates, it nominated around four dozen new faces to run for the election.
The selection came as a shock to many as more than 30 incumbent lawmakers, including AL joint general secretaries Nanak and Abdur Rahman, and organising secretaries AFM Bahauddin Nasim and BM Mozammel Haque, were left out apparently due to controversy and internal feuds.
Arif Khan Joy, deputy minister for youth and sports, was also denied the party ticket.
Two senior party leaders -- ex-deputy speaker Col (retd) Shawkat Ali and former state minister Rahmat Ali -- are also not in the electoral race this time. Both of them are sitting lawmakers. Their sons looked to replace them in their constituencies in Gazipur and Shariatpur but to no avail.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who was elected from Sylhet-1 in the last two parliamentary elections, is not running this time, creating opportunity for his brother AK Abdul Momen to contest from the constituency.
Celebrated cricketer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and noted actor Akbar Hossain Pathan, popularly known as Farooque, got the party ticket for Narail-2 and Dhaka-17.
The party also nominated Shahjada Saju, nephew of Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, for Patuakhali-3 instead of KM Zahangir Hossain, sitting MP and former state minister.