The ruling Awami League promised to reward rebel candidates of the party, if they withdraw their candidature from the municipal polls to help party nominees return in the polls.
The rebel candidates will get extra time as a life-line by withdrawing their nomination papers though the 24-hour ultimatum has ended on Thursday.AL will reward those leaders for their sacrifice and dedication as party workers. As many municipalities have more than one eligible candidate, AL has to choose only one candidate for each so the deprived leaders shall be compensated, party insiders said.
After expiry of the 24-hour ultimatum only a few rebel candidates of the AL withdrew their candidature from among 51 rebel aspirants in the 234 municipalities.
Though the AL on Thursday claimed half of the rebel candidates had withdrawn their candidature complying with the ultimatum.
On Wednesday, after submission of the list of rebel candidates to party President Sheikh Hasina, the AL announced a 24-hours ultimatum to its rebel candidates and issued letters.
The AL leaders also think that all rebel candidates will withdraw otherwise they have to face punishment according to the party constitution.
"Only ten per cent candidates will not withdraw from the elections, and they will definitely be punished," a big-wig of the party told the daily Observer.
The party will handle the rebel candidates with an iron hand and will not hesitate to expel them from the party, he added.
AL Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said, "All the rebel candidates will withdraw their candidature within Sunday."
When asked about the ultimatum, Hanif explained, "As we announced a 24-hour ultimatum yesterday (Wednesday) night all the candidates did not get the letter. So that has been extended until Sunday," he explained.
"Candidates who will not withdraw their nomination papers within the stipulated period shall be deemed to have joined another political party and shall be expelled from the Awami League," Hanif warned.
AL Organising Secretary of Dhaka Division Ahmad Hossain said, "We are already receiving news of withdrawal from the many municipalities and hopefully we will get a cent per cent response soon."
Another Organising Secretary Abu Sayeed Al Mahmud Swapan said, "Rebel candidates are also our dedicated leaders and if they withdraw they must be rewarded."
"Our central nomination board had chosen candidates from the best of our best candidates so rebel candidates have to sacrifice and party will assess their loyalty to the party," Swapan added.