Dhaka, Bangladesh
BNP thanks EC, expects Khaleda candidacy

BNP thanks EC, expects Khaleda candidacy

Okya Front candidate list today, manifesto Dec 17

News Report Thanking the Election Commission for the first time, the recalcitrant BNP Thursday made a resolute move towards poll participation with most of the rejected party nominees cleared for the contest. Visibly pleased at the 'justice' done in first day's nomination-appeal hearings, BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir came up with the thanksgiving gesture and also held hope that his jailed party chief, Khaleda Zia, too, would get the all-clear in her appeal case to be heard tomorrow (Saturday). Underpinning the developments in the run-up to the December 30 general election, he also rolled of participatory plans of the BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front headed by Dr Kamal Hossain. The JOF will unveil its combined list of candidature today and publish election manifesto on December 17. A grand rally scheduled earlier in the day for December 10 in Dhaka's Suhrawardy Udyan was later postponed-also an indication of drive in the positive direction. In the first day's hearing of appeals filed by several hundred aspirants who were rejected by returning officers during scrutiny of nomination papers, the Election Commission Thursday declared 81 candidatures valid and rejected 77 while two were held. A total of 160 petitions were heard. And out of the 81 cleared, 32 of the BNP appellants were given the clean chit while 22 of the party denied. Those whose appeals are being rejected now have the scope to higher court for the last-ditch legal battle for revival of their scrapped candidacies. "It's a victory-the victory of our movement. We think the declaration of most of our candidates valid is our victory. We also hope our leader Khaleda Zia will also be declared a legal candidate if justice is ensured," said Mirza Fakhrul while talking to reporters at BNP chairperson's Gulshan office. On completion of the first-day hearing, BNP got back their single candidates in three constituencies - Bagura-7, Jamalpur-4, Manikganj-2 and Dhaka-1. The commission, wit its appellate authority, started its three-day hearing Thursday on the petitions filed against the decision of the returning officers over the rejection and acceptance of nomination papers in different constituencies. Now BNP's valid contestants for the four constituencies are Morshed Milton for Bagura-7, Faridul Kabir Talukder (Shamim) for Jamalpur-4, Abidur Rahman Khan for Manikganj-2 and Khandaker Abu Ashfaq of Dhaka-1. Ruling Awami League fielded no candidate for 36 constituencies, while BNP for five in the 11th national elections set for December 30. During Sunday's scrutiny of nomination papers by the returning officers, all BNP aspirants lost their candidature in six constituencies - Sunamganj-3, Manikganj-2, Jamalpur-4, Pabna-1, Bagura-7 and Dhaka-1, while AL aspirants in three constituencies -Kurigram-4, Satkhira-1 and Narayanganj-3. Among others who got back their candidature with the EC orders include BNP contestants Tamij Uddin of Dhaka-20 and Major (retd) Akhteruzzaman of Kishoreganj-2 Abdul Majid for Jhenaidah-2, Mohammad Shahjahan for Patuakhali-3, Abdul Kaiyum Chowdhury for Sylhet-3, Fazlur Rahman for Joypurhat, Hasadul Islam for Pabna-3, Ainul Haque for Sirajganj-3, Joynal Abedin for Mymensingh-7, AKM Mukhlesur Rahman for Sherpur-2, Selim Bhuiyan for Dhaka-5, Tozammel Haque for Manikganj-1, Ahammad Taibur Rahman for Mymensingh-3, Abu Asif Ahmed for Brahmanbaria-2, Syed Abu Bakar Siddique for Dhaka-14, BNP candidates Abdul Khaleque for Kurigram-3, Nurul Amin for Chattogram-1, Mostafa Kamal Pasha for Chattogram-3, Prof M Yunus for Cumilla-5, Rafiqul Islam for Gaibandha-3, Nazemul Islam Prodhan for Gaibandha-5, Abdullah Al Mamun for Sirajganj-5, Abdul Aziz for Natore-4, MA Muhith for Sirajganj-6, Maj Gen (retd) Monzur Kader for Sirajganj-5, Aminul Haque for Rajshahi-1, Md Hanif for Dinajpur-1, Ershad Ullah for Chattogram-8. Besides, other valid candidates declared by the EC include Sumon Sanyamat for Patuakhali-1, Afsar Ali for Satkhira-2, Jahirul Islam Mintu for Madaripur-1 , Mahbub Alam and Joynal Abedin for Gazipur-2,Jasmine Noor Baby for Brahmanbaria-6, Mustafa Selim for Rangpur-4, SM Shafiqul Alam for Khulna-6, Jubair Ahmed for Habiganj-1, Abdullah Al Helal for Brahmanbaria-3, Abu Bakar Siddique for Mymensingh-2, Sulaiman Khan Rabbani for Habiganj-4, Alauddin Mridha for Natore-4, Yunus Ali for Kurigram-4, Anisuzzaman for Barishal-2, Kamruzzaman Swadhin for Jhenaidah-3, KM Mujibul Haque for Cumilla-3, Foyzul Munir Chowdhury for Sylhet-5, Abdul Mannan for Jhenaidah-4, Syed Anwar Ahammad Liton for Brahmanbaria-3, Mamunur Rashid for Brahmanbaria-5 and Zakir Hossain for Dhaka-14, Mahfuzar Rahman for Kurigram-4, Mokhlesur Rahman for Brahmanbaria-2, Mahbub Alam for Lakshmipur-1,Niamul Bashir for Chandpur-5,Ashraf Uddin for Brahmanbaria-2, Abu Zafar for Gaibandha-3, Sayeduzzaman for Jashore-6, Abdur Rahman for Sirajganj-4, Abdur Rauf Mondal for Bogura-5, Habibur Rahman for Sirajganj-6, Shafiqul Islam for Bogura-2, Mohammad Foysal Bin for Bogura-6, Anisur Rahman for Chattogram-10, Mahfuzar Rahman for Kurigram-4,Shah Alam for Kurigram-4,Mustafa Selim for Rangpur-4,Yunus Ali for Kurigram-4 and Asaduzzaman for Rangpur-1. The EC will dispose of 150 petitions today and the remaining 233 tomorrow (Saturday). A total of 543 petitions were filed with the Election Commission within the stipulated three days till Wednesday to challenge the decisions of returning officers. Meanwhile, the Jatiya Oikya Front has almost finalized its draft manifesto with focus on major reforms like balance of state power, freedom of the judiciary, providing universal heal coverage, freedom of speech, and public security. "I hope the manifesto will be approved tomorrow (Friday)," said Zafrullah Chowdhury, the chief of the panel tasked with drafting of the manifesto. Front sources said the manifesto also contains key issues like citizens' security, measures to stop arrest by plainclothes cops, extrajudicial killings, scrapping the Digital Security Act, and reducing the backlog of cases. The greater opposition coalition may also emphasize ensuring a balance of power and decentralizing the administration. It will pledge to create a balance of power in Parliament, prime minister and president. A leader of the coalition said they will also include a law barring a prime minister from serving two consecutive terms. The power of the president will be enhanced. In the manifesto the alliance might also pledge to bring back the provision for referendum. "We will create a commission to form the provincial administration. It is not possible to govern a country of 170-180 million people from Dhaka," said the leader. They might also include lifting the age limit in government jobs - except for the police and armed forces-and an allowance for unemployed youths over 30 years of age. Recruiting for all vacant government-job posts within three years of assuming power is also being pledged. Other pledges include security for women, road safety, food safety, and programmes for alleviating poverty and ensuring logical quota facilities in government services. During a BNP council held in 2016, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had pledged to create a balance of power between the president and the prime minister. She said if elected to power, her party would take measures to convert the parliament to a bicameral one. And it finds place in the JOF recipe of dos and don'ts if in power. Inputs taken from agencies

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