In wanting to avoid getting elected unopposed, the Awami League asked its leaders to file nomination papers even if they failed to secure a party ticket to contest the general election.
The tactic appears to have worked to some extent as the ruling party candidates, unlike the 2014 polls when more than half of the nominees were elected unopposed, have rivals in all seats.
Sherpur-2 has the lowest number of two candidates while 20 other seats have three nominees each. The highest number of 13 candidates are fighting for four other constituencies each.
As many as 2,716 candidates submitted nomination papers, but 731 had their candidacies cancelled in the scrutiny from Dec 1 to 4. They can still appeal to the Election Commission.
A large number of these candidates are independents, officials said, but could not specify.
In the 20 seats of Dhaka, 43 independent candidates submitted nominations, and the candidacies of 30 have been scrapped.
Most of them failed to prove they have the support of at least 1 percent voters in their constituencies.
More independent candidates are contesting the election outside the capital. Of them, all in three Sirajganj seats lost the chance to join the race.
The final number of total candidates will be known after the end of nomination withdrawal on Dec 17 when it will also be clear which of the allies are getting the Awami League’s support or which candidates are rebelling against their parties.
EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath said a major reason behind the scrapping of nominations was defaulting on loans.
Unpaid utility bills, a lack of required support, false information in affidavits and failure to secure party’s support despite submitting nomination as party candidates are among the other reasons for cancelling nominations.
With many notable politicians losing candidacy, the competition in some areas has lost lustre.
Prominent among them is the Awami League MP and candidate Mamunur Rashid Kiron of Noakhali-3, who was adjudged a loan defaulter.
Ruling party candidate Salahuddin Ahmed of Cox’s Bazar-1 also lost candidacy for the same reason.
Shammi Ahmed, the Awami League candidate for Barishal-4, has been barred from running for election because of her dual citizenship.
Her rival MP Pankaj Debnath, who won the last three elections with the party’s ticket, has been cleared to join the race.
In Kishoreganj-3, Awami League candidate Nasirul Islam Khan cannot run because he could not provide documents to prove he was acquitted of criminal charges.
Returning officers also cancelled nominations of Bikalpadhara Bangladesh leaders Abdul Mannan and Mahi B Chowdhury, and Gono Forum MP Mokobbir Khan.