BNP leaders have received “blessings” from party chief Khaleda Zia as they started their journey to the December election with the sale of nomination forms. The forms went on sale on Monday. Though Khaleda Zia’s participation in the election is still in doubt, BNP leaders have bought nomination forms for three seats on her behalf.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and party colleagues Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar and Mirza Abbas visited the BNP chief in jail on Monday afternoon.
They spent one and a half hours with Khaleda at the old jailhouse on Old Dhakas Nazimuddin Road.
“Madam is praying for us,” Fakhrul told the media after leaving the prison. “She hopes that the coalition of the people we have formed will be the one to take us forward.”
Asked if there had been any other discussion on the election, the BNP secretary general said no.
The BNP joined the Jatiya Oikya Front opposition alliance led by Dr Kamal Hossain after Khaleda was sentenced to jail in a corruption case.
The alliance has called for Khaledas release, the dissolution of parliament and for the general election to be held under an impartial election-time government, all of which have been rejected. But they have agreed to participate in the coming polls as part of their protest movement.
The BNP began selling nomination forms for the polls on Monday, the day after it announced its participation.
BNP senior leaders have secured applications for the Feni-1, Bogura-6 and Bogura-7 constituencies on behalf of Khaleda.
The five BNP leaders went to see their party chief immediately after receiving the nomination papers.
Mirza Fakhrul also called for Khaleda to be transferred to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, or BSMMU, for treatment.
“Madam is ill, extremely ill. She should be moved because she is not receiving proper care,” he said.
The prison authorities have not followed the instructions given by BSMMU doctors, Mirza Fakhrul alleged. “She was transferred to jail very suddenly.”
“This is inhumane. We strongly urge that she be taken back to hospital and given proper care.”
The BNP chief had been admitted to BSMMU for a brief period due to concerns about her health.
She has been in jail since Feb 8, when she was sentenced to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.