‘JP wants no AL candidates in 70 seats’
Jatiya Party, the main opposition party in parliament, has demanded the ruling Awami League withdraw its candidates from around 70 constituencies to pave the way for the JP nominees' easy win in the January 7 polls.
A high-profile JP delegation made the demand during a meeting with an AL team at a house in Dhaka city's Gulshan on Wednesday night, a JP co-chairman told The Daily Star.
However, the two parties yesterday officially denied that they discussed seat-sharing.
Wishing anonymity, the JP co-chairman said the AL delegation, led by General Secretary Obaidul Quader, told the JP leaders that they would inform the opposition party about seat-sharing after discussing the matter with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The JP leader also said the two parties will hold more informal meetings on sharing seats.
The JP high-ups have designated party Chairman GM Quader, Senior Co-chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud and Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu to deal with seat-sharing, party insiders said.
JP nominees, especially its top leaders, are worried over winning polls as the AL is yet to reach a consensus with it over sharing seats.
There are discussions in the political arena that the JP may quit the race at the last moment if the party finds it difficult to ensure win for its top leaders.
The AL and the JP have already announced the names of their candidates in 298 and 287 constituencies respectively.
In the 2018 national polls, the AL did not field any candidates in 26 constituencies from where JP nominees ran. The JP won 21 of those seats.
The opposition party's nominees lost security deposits in all 145 constituencies where candidates from both the JP and the AL contested.
Speaking at a press briefing at the JP chairman's Banani office yesterday, Chunnu claimed they did not discuss seat-sharing with the AL and that there was no need for it.
"We believe the polls results would be astonishing this time like those of the 1991 national polls if the voters were able to go to the polling centres and cast their ballots freely.".
The JP leader said the results in 1991 were astonishing because nobody expected the BNP to win, but the party did.
"There are a lot of anti-Awami League voters in the country. We want to capitalise on those voters to bag more votes in favour of our party."
Chunnu said they discussed with the AL how to conduct the elections peacefully so that voters can go to the polling stations.
He said the AL has assured that it will extend all-out cooperation in holding the elections in a free and fair manner. "We felt assured. But we will observe the situation in the coming days."
Asked whether the JP would quit the race at the last moment, Chunnu said his party does not have any history of boycotting polls.
Meanwhile, Obaidul Quader at a press conference at the AL president's Dhanmondi political office yesterday said they had a meeting with the JP to discuss holding the parliamentary polls in a free, fair, and peaceful manner.
He said the JP will run independently.