Mohammad Al AminPublished:
2023-12-07 13:57:11 BdST
Boat or plough? The great JaPa dilemma
Amid the process of reaching an understanding with the Awami League over sharing parliamentary seats, the Jatiya Party is divided over which electoral symbol to choose for contesting the upcoming national elections.
Insiders said a group of the party’s MP candidates wants to contest with boat, the Awami League’s electoral symbol, to ensure victory while another one prefers plough, which represents the Jatiya Party.
Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu and Senior Co-Chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud held a meeting with the Awami League at the residence of a leader of the latter in the capital on Wednesday evening.
Chairman GM Quader did not attend it in a bid to avoid criticism in case the party fails to bargain strongly, sources said.
“The meeting discussed various matters, including sharing constituencies and choosing the electoral symbol,” a Jatiya Party leader who was present there said.
He said they want to contest with the plough symbol but sought confirmation from the Awami League that “our expected number of candidates will win.”
At the meeting, the party wanted at least 50 seats but the Awami League did not confirm anything, sources said.
The party also demanded that the Awami League would not field candidates in those constituencies. A co-chairman of the party said sharing seats could be finalised by December 10.
The Jatiya Party candidates who want to contest with the boat symbol think it will be difficult to win with plough as the party has lack of public support in all constituencies due to its internal conflicts and absence on the street about public issues.
But the other group thinks if the ruling party does not field candidates in the constituencies selected during the understanding, there will be no problem for the Jatiya Party candidates to win there with the plough symbol.
Several Jatiya Party leaders said most candidates want to contest with the plough symbol as part of the understanding with the Awami League.
Requesting anonymity, a leader said the Awami League would have an agreement with the Jatiya Party for its own interests.
“It is a great achievement for the Awami League that the Jatiya Party is contesting. If our party boycotts the elections, the ruling party will be in trouble. Without our participation, the elections will not be acceptable,” he added.
Mahmud Alam, joint office secretary of the Jatiya Party, said some 272 candidates of the party passed the Election Commission scrutiny while 294 were nominated.
The Awami League has announced candidates in 298 constituencies. Besides, many leaders of the party will contest as independent candidates.
In the 11th parliamentary election in December 2018, the Awami League conceded 26 seats to the Jatiya Party while the latter won 23 of those. Besides, Jatiya Party candidates were elected in four reserved seats for women.
The BNP-Jamaat coalition boycotted the 10th parliamentary polls in 2014 and the Jatiya Party was not in any alliance. However, it won in 34 constituencies where the Awami League fielded no candidates.
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