AL, allies to take part in local govt polls
The Awami League (AL) along with other components of its grand electoral alliance will take part in the upcoming city corporation and local government elections.
The AL, which had been demanding holding of the national election first, will ask its grassroots level leaders in a few days to send a list of candidates for the elections to the city corporations, upazila parishads and municipalities to finalise the nominations, AL leaders said.
Party insiders said since the grassroots level leaders want to take part in the local government elections, there is no scope for boycotting the polls. AL sources said AL President Sheikh Hasina, who is now in the US for medical treatment, also gave "green signal" for taking part in the local government elections.
The Election Commission has decided to announce on Friday the schedules for holding polls in four city corporations and nine municipalities by the end of July. It will be the first election under the state of emergency.
"Awami League will participate in the local government elections along with the components of the 14-party combine and all other pro-Liberation War forces," AL Publicity Secretary Asaduzzaman Noor told The Daily Star last night.
AL Organising Secretary Mahmudur Rahman Manna said they would nominate candidates solely on recommendations of the grassroots level leaders.
The grassroots level leaders in their reports submitted at the party's extended meeting on May 26 suggested that nominations for any kind of election should be given on their recommendations.
Prior to her departure for the US on June 12, Hasina directed the party high-ups to work as per these recommendations, sources said.
Meanwhile, party sources said a few party leaders would oppose participating in the polls since Jatiya Party, which will also take part in the election, is involved with the government's "plans".
The AL Presidium will sit today at the Gulshan residence of acting AL President Zillur Rahman to make decision over the local government polls. The AL will also hold a secretary level meeting soon to discuss the matter, party sources said.
"The process of taking part in the local government polls will start tomorrow," said a central AL leader preferring anonymity.
The AL has potential candidates for mayoral posts in Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet city corporations, but it is yet to find a probable candidate for the Barisal City Corporation, party leaders said.
The party has in mind former state minister Talukder Abdul Khaleque as the candidate for the Khulna City Corporation mayor, detained Sylhet Mayor Badaruddin Ahmed Kamran for the same city corporation, and Fazle Hossain Badsha of Workers' Party of Bangladesh and former AL lawmaker Khairuzzaman Liton for Rajshahi City Corporation.
But the party will be cautious in choosing candidates for Barisal City Corporation as previous candidates have been inactive for the last several years, sources said.
Commenting on the party's stance on the local government polls, AL acting General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said they would decide on the matter soon in consultation with party leaders.
He, however, said they would resist any move by the caretaker government to delay the next parliamentary election.
"We want the national election first. It will not be right for the government to engage in any activities that can delay the parliamentary polls. Awami League will resist such moves," he said after a meeting with Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leaders at the JSD central office on Bangabandhu Avenue.
Ashraf also demanded that the government lift the state of emergency completely for creating a congenial atmosphere ahead of the upcoming election.
Echoing Ashraf's view, JSD Executive President Mainuddin Khan Badal said the government must hold the national election first.