Bikolpodhara Bangladesh has got three seats from the ruling Awami League to contest the December 30 parliamentary polls, but none of the seven other parties in the Juktofront, led by the Bikolpodhara, has been offered seats.
Bikolpodhara leaders Mahi B Chowdhury, Maj (retd) MA Mannan and MA Shahin will contest the polls for Munshiganj-2, Laxmipur-4 and Moulvibazar-2 respectively with the AL's electoral symbol “boat”.
However, the party has fielded 37 candidates.
It had demanded 150 seats from the BNP two months ago when the latter sought to forge a “greater national unity” with the Juktofront and Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya. The Bikolpodhara had argued that this was required to ensure balance of power.
The party also wanted the BNP to drop Jamaat-e-Islami from the 20-party alliance. This complicated the situation delaying the formation of the new alliance.
On October 13, Jatiya Oikyafront was launched excluding the Bikolpodhara and the Juktofront.
Within just two days, Bangladesh NAP and National Democratic Party (NDP), components of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, quit the combine.
On November 1, Bangladesh NAP, National Democratic Party, Bangladesh Labour Party, Bangladesh Liberal Democratic Party, Janadal, Bangladesh Janata Party, and Bangladesh Minority Front joined the Juktofront.
The Juktofront later joined the AL-led electoral alliance and demanded that the ruling party set aside 50 of the 300 parliamentary seats for its leaders to run.
As the negotiations on seat sharing was not completed, members of the AL-led alliance were asked to file nomination papers separately.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Bikolpodhara President AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury said, “It's true that we cannot ensure balance of power through seat-sharing. However, we conveyed our message to the Awami League and they took it positively.”
The former president said the Juktofront was in trouble when the Oikyafront ousted the alliance from the greater unity process. “We were caught in a political trap. We had little time in our hand for negotiations.”
He said they needed to go to parliament to raise their demands. “That's why we agreed to contest the polls. We have got three seats and we are hopeful of being given a few more.”
Badruddoza earlier had repeatedly said that they would not form any alliance with the anti-liberation forces.
But allegations have surfaced that his party secretary general, Maj (retd) Mannan, fought for the Pakistan army during the Liberation War in 1971.
Brushing off the allegation, Badruddoza said it was “a blatant lie”.
Among the other components of Juktofront, Bangladesh NAP fielded three candidates, but got no seat from the AL. This has disappointed the party.
“We have fielded three candidates, but the Awami League didn't give us a single seat. If I don't get any seat, I will not be with the Juktofront and the Awami League. I will sever ties with them,” Bangladesh NAP Chairman Jebel Rahman Ghani told this correspondent.
He said he would contest the polls from Nilphamari-1. “If we don't contest the upcoming national election, our party's registration with the Election Commission would be cancelled.”
NDP Chairman Gulam Mortaza said, “We have been treated unfairly as Jebel Rahman did not get nomination. We will wait till the last day [for withdrawal of candidature]. If Jebel Rahman is not nominated, we will think of other options.”