MA Sattar from the Jatiya Party took 34,000 votes in the same election, meaning that the total votes cast for the Jatiya Party and the Awami League would have defeated the BNP candidate. The Jatiya Party’s decision to nominate almost 150 candidates separately from its Awami League ally has caused resentment among the grassroots of the Awami League.
Both the Awami League and the Jatiya Party have nominated their candidates Abul Kalam Azad and Abdus Sattar for that same seat Jamalpur-1, leaving local Awami League leaders worried that a similar situation could recur.
“What is the point of forming an alliance if the Jatiya Party is nominating separate candidates?” said Saiful Islam Bijoy, general secretary of the Bakshiganj Upazila wing of the Awami League.
“It will put our candidate at risk if the Jatiya Party candidates contests against the Awami League candidate from this seat,” he said.
Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad expected 50 seats to be shared by the Awami League, his ally over the past 10 years.
But he succeeded in getting only 26, although Jatiya Party leaders claimed the number of seats shared by the Grand Alliance was 29.
The Jatiya Party says it has sent a list of their candidates for 161 seats to the Election Commission, but some other party leaders stated the list contains 172 names.
It means the aspirants with the plough logo may grab votes that may have been cast for the Awami League or other allies.
The then BNP secretary general, Abdul Mannan, Bhuiyan was elected from the Narshingdi-3 seat in the 2001 polls, bagging 61,000 votes. The Awami League candidate Mahbubur Rahman Ali received 45,000 votes in that election, while the Jatiya Party s Shahjahan Saju managed to get 18,000 votes.
Jatiya Party nominating candidates outside the Grand Alliance will pose a risk for his party, said Harun Or Rashid Khan, president of the Shibpur Upazila wing of the Awami League.
“The Jatiya Party has around 10,000-15,000 voters in our constituency. Now the boat logo will never receive these votes, he said.
BNP s Motalleb Akondo won the 2001 election from Gaibandha-4 (Gobindaganj) seat in Rangpur receiving 96,000 votes while his opponent Mozammel Hossain from the Awami League bagged 75,000 votes and Lutfar Rahman Chowdhury from the Jatiya Party got 67,000.
There are other seats where it is possible to defeat the BNP if votes cast for the Jatiya Party are added to the Awami League s total.
The strategy had worked during the 2008 election. A compromise was also worked out between the two parties in the 2014 election after the BNP had boycotted the poll.
The Jatiya party could not manage it as there have been a large number of JP candidates and they had to nominate separate candidates, despite knowing it would cause inconvenience to the Awami league, Jatiya Party Secretary General Mashiur Rahman Ranga told reporters.
“Then it was decided by the Grand Alliance that the nomination process will be open to ensure both the parties can cooperate each other.”
As they opened the nomination for the 132 seats, it will bring benefit to the allies -- the Awami League and Jatiya Party, according to Ranga.
“Many of our allies are contesting the election outside the alliance; it is decided by the alliance,” said Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, joint-general secretary of the Awami League.
“We have nominated our candidates for 300 seats on behalf of the alliance; we are not bothered with other party nominations beyond this.”
He said when the reporter asked if the issue puts the Awami League candidates in risk.
“We cannot make any comment now as it is an issue related to the election,” said Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, organising secretary of the Awami League.