Acting Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairman Tarique Rahman inspired party nomination seekers for the 11th parliamentary polls as the party continued interviewing them for the second day on Monday with his virtual presence on the nomination board through video conferencing.
At an interval during the interview, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters that jailed party chairperson Khaleda Zia would take part in the elections.
‘It matters little what the ruling party leaders say. Our chairperson is still eligible for joining the elections and we believe she will do that,’ he said.
About 500 nomination seekers for 57 parliamentary constituencies in Khulna and Barisal divisions were interviewed at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office on Monday.
BNP, which along with all other opposition parties boycotted the 10th parliamentary elections on January 5, 2014, decided to take part in the 11th parliamentary polls and sold 4,580 nomination forms among the party nomination seekers.
On Sunday, BNP interviewed nomination-seekers from Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions.
Mirza Fakhrul, BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mahbubur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam Mia, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moin Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury were on the nomination board on Monday.
Although the ruling Awami League criticised Tarique’s virtual presence from London on the nomination board, BNP nomination seekers said that they were inspired after talking to Tarique during interview.
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal president Rajib Ahsan, a nomination seeker for Barisal 4 constituency, said that during his interview Tarique talked to him.
‘Talking to him is a great inspiration for us when we are going to the election in an uneven situation,’ he told New Age emerging for the interview.
Tarique, who has been living in London after his release from jail on September 11, 2008 in cases filed by the army-backed interim regime, became acting BNP chairman on February 8, when his mother BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was jailed in a graft case.
Tarique was sentenced to 17 years in prison in two graft cases and life term in the Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack case.
The interview of the nomination seekers began on the second day with Barisal 1 constituency. Cops were seen on guard at the entry to Road 86 at Gulshan, where BNP chief’s office was located.
The interview for Khulna division was held after lunch.
At the break, Fakhrul alleged that the Election Commission could not yet ensure a minimum level playing field for a credible election. ‘We are in the election race in an uneven situation,’ he told reporters.
He said that their prospective candidates were being arrested, sent to jail and denied baill.
BNP said that the interviews of nomination hopefuls for Chittagong, Comilla and Sylhet divisions were scheduled for today and Mymensingh, Faridpur region and Dhaka for Wednesday.
According to the election schedule, the deadline for submission of nomination papers will expire on November 28.
BNP has decided to take part in the elections jointly with the Jatiya Oikya Front and the BNP-led alliance.
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