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BNP leaders set out on tour of dists today

Rashed Ahmed Mitul

Leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party will set out on Sunday on a tour of districts to pick up single candidates from the party aspirants for each post in the coming upazila parishad elections.
A BNP standing committee member told New Age on Saturday that the district visits officially described as ‘organisational tours’ , actually aimed at selecting single candidates from the contenders in the party’s grassroots.
The visits also aimed at inspiring the activists to work for the candidates chosen by the party in the local polls, he said.
The first phase of the staggered upazila parishad polls in 98 upazilas would be held on February 19. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is February 3.
In the second phase, 117 upazilas would go to polls on February 27 while the third phase of elections would take place on March 15.
Elections to all 487 upazila parishads would be completed in six phases by May 3.
More than one candidate from both BNP and Awami League reportedly filed nomination papers for each post of chairman and vice-chairman in the first phase of upazila elections.
BNP assistant office secretary Shamimur Rahman Shamim told New Age that the central leaders would start an organisational tour of districts on Sunday.
Around 54 teams have been formed comprising BNP’s standing committee members, vice-chairmen, joint secretaries general and the party chairperson’s advisory council members for the tours.
Each team has been given responsibility of one or more districts to cover the 75 organisational districts of BNP.
BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman told New Age that he would set out on Monday for Nilphamary and Syedpur. In reply to a question, he said the party was participating in the upazila parishad polls as part of its current movement to ‘restore’ democracy.
The BNP, which along with its allies had boycotted the January 5 general elections, was taking part in the local polls to encourage the grassroots leaders and activists who seemed to have been suffering from low morale since the January 5 election, according to the party insiders.
The party also wants to show through the upazila polls that it enjoys popular support in the grassroots, the insiders said.
The BNP-led alliance had enforced a series of blockades in a bid to ‘resist’ the general election while joint forces unleashed a crackdown on the alliance leaders and activists during and after the election.
BNP leaders think that the party has bright chances in the upazila polls like its performance in the city corporation elections in 2013 that saw BNP-backed candidates winning mayoral posts in five cities that went to polls outside Dhaka.
They also hope that if BNP-backed candidates fare well in the upazila polls, it would have a positive impact on the current movement for a fresh parliamentary election under a non-party government.

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