AL to wait for BNP's decision
12:00 AM, June 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:14 AM, June 21, 2018

Seat Sharing in JS Polls

AL to wait for BNP's decision

Partners in the Awami League-led 14-party alliance are pushing the AL for finalising their share of nomination in the 11th parliamentary elections slated for December.

The ruling party, however, is staying mum on the issue as it waits for the BNP's decision on whether or not to participate in the polls, AL insiders told The Daily Star.  

If the BNP boycotts the election like it did in 2014, the AL will participate in it under the banner of the alliance, which the AL termed to be an ideological one.

On the other hand, if the BNP joins the election, the ruling party will go for it under the banner of a grand alliance, which includes Jatiya Party of HM Ershad and the 14-party combine, they said.

The AL had won the national elections in 2009 under the banner of grand alliance, which is considered by the party its ”electoral alliance”.

Talking to The Daily Star, Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon, also the president of Workers Party, a partner in the AL-led alliance, said they have informally discussed the issue with the AL.

“But no official talks have started in this regard. I think the issue of 'seat sharing' should be finalised soon,” he said.

He also said the AL's decision would depend on whether the BNP would join the polls and the role of Jatiya Party in the issue.

Sources said the Workers Party has recently sent a list of 14 nomination seekers from the party to the AL but has not received any response yet.

According to ruling party leaders, if the BNP participates in the election, the AL would “sacrifice a small number of seats” for its alliance partners.

Otherwise, the AL would share “more seats” with its allies.

On several occasions, a number of top BNP leaders said the party would not take part in the election if its chief Khaleda Zia remains in jail and its demand for election-time neutral government was not met. The BNP, however, has not come up with any concrete decision on the matter.

Khaleda landed in jail on February 8 after being convicted in a corruption case.

Contacted, AL presidium member Abdur Razzak told The Daily Star that they were yet to talk to the alliance partners about sharing of nomination.

Responding to a query, he said they were waiting for the BNP's decision on polls participation and conducting surveys with the help of local and foreign firms to choose popular candidates.

Meanwhile, sources in the AL   said the party was likely to fully concentrate on the 200 constituencies that it considered its stronghold and would leave the rest of the 100 parliamentary seats for its partners.

The ruling party was also worried about its rebel candidates as they might become a threat for it in the polls, the sources said.

In the last national poll, 13 independent candidates won and only one of them was from the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) while the rest were AL dissidents.

To resist party dissidents, the AL has already started taking some organisational measures. For example, the party introduced a provision in its charter that party rebels in national polls will directly be expelled from the party without   being served with any show-cause notice.

In the January 5 polls in 2014, a total 153 MPs were elected uncontested and of them 127 were from the ruling party. The poll was boycotted by major political parties, including the BNP and the Jamaat.

Twelve parties had contested the polls -- AL, JP, Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), JP (Manju), Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, Bangladesh Islami Front, Gonofront, Gonotantri Party, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh National Awami Party.

Apart from the AL, the Jatiya Party (Ershad) won in 34 constituencies, the Workers party in six, the JSD in five, the Tarikat Federation in two, the Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) in two and the BNF in one.

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