The Awami League will finalise its strategy for the Jan 7 general election after seeing which BNP leaders are contesting the polls, its General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said.
The opposition party has launched protests, saying it will not go to elections if the Awami League does not resign and clear the path for a caretaker administration.
But some former BNP leaders have formed new parties for the parliamentary polls while some others have been expelled for their willingness to join the race.
Speaking to reporters at the Awami League president’s political office in Dhanmondi on Tuesday, Quader said it will be clear which BNP leaders are standing for election after the deadline for nomination submission ends on Nov 30.
The Awami League has announced candidates for 298 constituencies, but kept dummy candidates if the original nominee’s candidacy is cancelled for reasons like defaulting on loans.
It has also suggested tolerance towards rebel candidates to keep the election competitive, even in the absence of the BNP's participation.
“We will set our strategy after seeing which BNP leaders are joining the race,” Quader said.
He said the ruling party does not have any special strategy to bring the BNP to the vote. “But we have no objection if they come. They are welcome.”
“We have time until the deadline for nomination withdrawal ends on the 17th of December. By this time, we’ll observe, monitor, adjust and accommodate. It’ll be the same for the dummy candidates. Everything will be final by the 17th,” Quader said.
The Awami League has also decided to contest the polls under an alliance.
Asked how many seats the Awami League is prepared to leave for its partners, Quader said everything will be known after the adjustment.
‘MANY BNP LEADERS DON’T LIKE TARIQUE’
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said he has information that many BNP leaders are creating different platforms to contest the polls because they do not like its Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.
Tarique, son of party Chairperson Khaleda Zia, has been in London since 2008. He has been convicted of graft, money laundering and plotting the Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally, among other charges.
“Many in the BNP don’t like their top leadership. This is why they are trying to contest the polls by forming new parties. Many others are also trying to stand for election as [independent] candidates,” Asaduzzaman told reporters at his Secretariat office.
He brushed aside criticisms that the government launched a crackdown on the BNP leaders ahead of the polls.
“They have specific charges against them, including vandalism, arson attacks on buses and killings,” Asaduzzaman said.
“We’ve identified the suspects and arrested them after filing cases. They’ve also carried out anti-state activities at different times. No one has been held without a proper reason.”