Jamaat plans for over 100 candidates in national polls

Salman Tareque Sakil
Published : 07:44, Aug 12, 2018 | Updated : 17:26, Aug 12, 2018

Jamaat plans for over 100 candidates in national pollsWith its registration with the Election Commission suspended upon a High Court order, the Jamaat-e-Islami has planned to float candidates as independent aspirants in more than 100 constituencies during the upcoming national election.
The party, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence during the 1971 war, however, will take part in the election as a stakeholder in the BNP-led coalition.
Several leaders of the party’s policymaking forum told Bangla Tribune that an initial screening of candidates in more than 100 constituencies have been finalised and if the party goes to the election with the 20-party Alliance then there candidates will file nomination as independent aspirants.
“We are preparing for the election, just like the other political parties. We will go to the election as part of the coalition. But we are now working on the polls symbol,” Jamaat Nayeb-e-Amir Mia Golam Parwar told Bangla Tribune.
The party had been using weighing scales as its symbol, but in March 2017, it was taken off the list of symbols reserved for candidates in parliamentary elections by the Election Commission following as Supreme Court order.
Sources at Jamaat’s policymaking forum say a panel of legal experts is now working on the options to move the court over the party’s suspended registration. They, however, say chances are less that the party will now opt for a legal battle.
“Polls symbol is not a major problem for us. Jamaat is quite familiar as well as popular,” Parwar told Bangla Tribune.
Several members of the party’s parliamentary board said they are mulling for candidates in more than 100 seats, but it yet to finalise the number as it all depends on the coalition.
It, however, has decided to float more candidates than it did in the 2008 election.
“Since the issue of candidates (among coalition partners) is yet to be officially raised, we will refrain from giving out a number now. We will let it know after it’s out there,” a member of Jamaat’s central executive committee told Bangla Tribune but asked not to be named.
Jamaat boycotted the elections in 2014 and 1988 while in 1973 and 1979 its candidates contested under the banner of Islamic Democratic League.
Another senior Jamaat leader told Bangla Tribune that their candidates will contest independently even if the party takes part as a coalition. “In that case, we will use a different symbol, not the BNP’s ‘sheaf of paddy’,” he said.
Central Executive Committee member Ehsanul Mahbub Zubayer echoed.
“Until now the decision is to take part as a coalition and our candidates will file nomination as the independent. We are not considering using paddy sheaf as polls symbol,” he told Bangla Tribune.
Zubayer did not disclose the exact number of candidates they wanted to float but said, “But it will be more than last time.”