Chairperson Khaleda Zia has directed leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to prepare a road map so that she may join campaigning for BNP candidates in the coming municipal election, party insiders said on Sunday.
They said Khaleda was intent on leading the campaign personally despite her bad experience during the City Corporation elections in April, when her motorcade came under attacks on the campaign trail.
BNP pulled out of the city elections at the last minute (on April 28) alleging that the EC failed to ensure level-playing field for all contestants while the law enforcing agencies failed to provide security to anti-government contestants.
The ruling Awami League rejected the allegations.
'But she wants to participate in the campaign for BNP candidates in the Pourasava polls, set for December 30," one BNP leader told the Daily Observer.
He said Khaleda's presence at the campaign will give a bigger boost to her party contenders who otherwise are suffering from kind of mental dilemma due to continuing arrest and persecution of BNP leaders and activists on "false and fabricated" charges of corruption and violence.
Although BNP is still asking the Election Commission (EC) to defer the pourasava poll date at least by two weeks, saying the current schedule was given in a haste with very tight timeframe for selecting candidates for crucial pourasava vote at the turn of the years.
However, BNP says they are not sitting idle and has already chosen 80 percent of candidates at the grassroots who will be vetted by Khaleda Zia herself before setting them afield.
She has already named Mohammad Shahjahan, a Joint Secretary General of BNP, to do the preliminary listing of likely candidates and send her the names with their NID and voter numbers, party source said.
They said the BNP was being too cautious in picking the contenders and directed party seniors to see they do not include anyone having police warrant or legal prosecution or bank loan defaulters who would be automatically discarded by the EC.
'She is being very careful so that none of the selected BNP nominees in the municipal polls has his or her candidature cancelled," one leader told this correspondent.
Candidates of the municipalities of Dhaka, Munsiganj, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Tangail, Jamalpur, Netrokona and some others districts have been finalised.
BNP Standing Committee member Gayeswar Chandra Roy told the Daily Observer: "Scrutiny of the aspirants has been going on to finalise the party candidates for the municipality polls. 80 per cent candidates have already been listed. Rest of the candidates will be finalised soon."
He also said, "We will take organisational measures if it is found that anyone bagged the nomination in exchange of money or through any other illegal means."
Dr Osman Faroque, an adviser to the BNP Chairperson, alleged that the Election Commission announced the election schedule hurriedly so that Khaleda Zia's party faces difficulties in participating in the polls.
Responding to a query, the BNP leader said if the election is not deferred ultimately, the party forum will take appropriate decisions considering the public interest.