BNP's first-time candidates in Chattogram district have expressed confidence that their lack of experience is not a setback because party popularity would be their key to victory.
If the people can vote freely, there is “no doubt about our win”, they said, while raising allegations of police harassment and attacks by ruling party men during campaign.
Of the 16 constituencies, BNP sacrificed four to allies and nominated seven new faces out of the remaining 12. Five of the new candidates shared their thoughts with The Daily Star.
In Chattogram-1, BNP leader Nurul Amin is contesting against Awami League presidium member Mosharraf Hossain.
Nurul said he is less experienced than Mosharraf but BNP has a huge vote bank in the constituency. “The image and support of the party would make up for my lack of experience,” he said.
Alleging that his supporters could not go for campaign due to obstructions from ruling party men, Nurul said, “If the election is held in a free and fair manner, I'm confident of victory.”
BNP candidate Ishaque Quader Chowdhury (Chattogram-4) said, “It is true that I'm new in parliamentary election but I'm nominated by a popular party like BNP.”
He, too, accused the ruling party men and administration of hindering his campaign.
In Chattogram-8, BNP's Chattogram city vice-president Abu Sufian is vying against Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal executive president Main Uddin Khan Badal. “I've been receiving a good response from voters though I'm running for the first time,” said Sufian. Like the two of his party candidates, he also laid emphasis on the necessity of a free and fair election.
A confident Enamul Haque, BNP's nominee in Chattogram-12, said, “Having experience of running in elections doesn't matter when you get nominated by a big party like BNP.”
“The only thing I'm worried about is whether voters would be able to go to polling centres, defying hindrance and harassment by the ruling party men.”
Jasim Uddin Sikder, BNP candidate in Chattogram-6, is not entirely new. “I'm new in national election, but I ran in upazila polls,” he said, adding, “BNP has a huge support base in the area.”
He alleged that the ruling party men are removing his posters and obstructing campaign.
Of the seven, Chattogram city BNP president Dr Shahadat Hossain (Chattogram-9) is now in jail, while Azimullah Bahar (Chattogram-2) could not be reached over the phone.