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BNP undecided, Jamaat ready as time running out

BNP is still undecided whether to participate in the December 18 national election while only six days are left to go before the deadline for filing nominations ends.

The issue of polls participation has already created a distance between BNP and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami, which appears quite keen to contest the election.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday reiterated that her party would take part in the polls if the government meets their demands.

She however did not say what would be the response if the caretaker administration declines to fulfil the demands before November 13, the closing date for submitting nominations.

BNP leaders said they are a bit concerned about Jamaat’s “over enthusiasm” for the election.

Talking to The Daily Star, they said their chairperson has already cautioned Jamaat leaders that it’s time for a reality check. Going to polls at this time would do no good to their four-party alliance.

According to party sources, Jamaat has already completed preparations for the election. The BNP rank and file, on the other hand, still does not know if they would boycott the general election.

“I have no clues to what decision our party might take. We will however follow whatever the chairperson should decide with regard to the upcoming election,” a district BNP general secretary told The Daily Star, seeking anonymity.

BNP insiders said the party wants no part in the election as it thinks the odds are still stacked against it.

However, Jamaat’s arguments that a boycott of the vote would mean letting the Awami League-led alliance win unchallenged have put it in a fix. The prospect of the political opponents gaining the two-thirds majority in parliament is even more worrying.

While Jamaat and Islami Oikya Jote (Aminee) are pressing the party hard for a decision in favour of polls participation, some of its [BNP] top leaders appear hell-bent on boycotting the election.

They say the party must not join the parliamentary race if its detained and convicted leaders are not allowed to contest.

Addressing a public gathering in Chittagong yesterday, Khaleda alleged the government has failed to create a level playing field.

The former prime minister however did not drop any hints about their next course of action.

On condition of anonymity, a former BNP lawmaker yesterday told The Daily Star, “It would not be wise to boycott the election as people want to get out of the current situation through a free and fair election.”

November 7, 2008 - Posted by | Bangladesh, Politics | , , , ,

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