The BNP high-command has given “green signal” to at least 100 candidates to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls, party leaders said.
Among the candidates are party standing committee members, vice chairmen, advisers to the BNP chief, joint secretaries, organising secretaries and national executive committee members.
The decision has been communicated to the candidates who have already started working in their respective constituencies for contesting the polls, likely to be held in late December.
The BNP recently made the decision after party acting chairman Tarique Rahman, now in London, carried out some surveys on the prospective MP candidates and analysed the results of the previous national elections, leaders close to Tarique told The Daily Star.
Some national executive committee members of the BNP confirmed receiving the “green signal” from Tarique. The lawmaker aspirants have started forming various committees, holding meetings with party men and spending time in their respective constituencies.
Despite there is no intra-party conflict in the 100 constituencies, the BNP has prepared a list of two to three more prospective candidates for each of those constituencies as a backup plan. If any of the chosen 100 is declared disqualified as a candidate, the BNP will pick its nominee from the back-up candidates, party leaders said.
The opposition party may set aside 50 to 100 seats for its current and any future allies. It now leads the 20-party alliance.
The BNP high-command has been working to finalise the list of prospective candidates for the remaining constituencies. Tarique has been coordinating the candidate selection process in consultation with the party's senior leaders.
The BNP's key ally Jamaat cannot contest the next Jatiya Sangshad polls as its registration with the Election Commission has been cancelled. Party sources said the BNP has not made any decision over backing any independent MP candidates from Jamaat.
According to party insiders, the BNP was simultaneously making preparations for the elections and a movement demanding Khaleda's release from jail and national polls under a non-partisan government.
The BNP chief landed in jail in February after being convicted of graft.
The party is yet to announce whether it will participate in the parliamentary polls as its demands remain unmet. It had boycotted the January 5, 2014, national polls as it was not held under a non-partisan interim government, as it demanded.
Following the drafting of a list of 40,000 polling stations by the EC, the BNP has already asked its grassroots leaders to form as many election centre-based committees within shortest possible time.
Party leaders said the committees would initially be used for staging street agitations. Later, they would work as election coordination committees if the party decides to contest the national polls.
Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu, organising secretary of BNP, said there was no alternative to waging a movement to press home their demands. “At the same time we have to make preparations for the elections.”
He said Tarique knew about the prospective candidates in all the 300 constituencies as he conducted a number of surveys.
“He is giving green signal to the prospective candidates in those constituencies where there is no problem [intra-party rivalry],” Dulu said.
Syed Mehdi Ahmed Roomy, president of Kushtia BNP, said the party was prepared to contest the polls anytime.
“But we will take part in the elections if those are held in a free and fair manner,” he said.
Mahbub Uddin Khokon, joint secretary general of the party, said Tarique as the party acting chairman was looking after its organisational activities.
“He is analysing the popularity of the prospective MP candidates which is a routine work of the party,” he said.