Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JP) yesterday said they will take part in the December 18 national election as an alliance and form government if voted to power.
The announcement came after a meeting between top leaders of the parties at AL President Sheikh Hasina’s Sudha Sadan residence.
During the one-and-half-hour talks that began at 2:30pm, the JP delegation led by its Chairman HM Ershad handed a list of 50 candidates to Hasina for nomination from the alliance, said meeting sources.
As of filing this report at 9:00pm, JP acting chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud and presidium member Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu were discussing the seat-sharing issue with Hasina.
Meanwhile, AL could not yet finalise seat distribution among its partners in the 14-party coalition. It might hold another round of meeting with the combine today.
Sources said the party might leave around 10 seats for its 14-party allies that include Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, National Awami Party, Gonotantri Party, Gono Azadi League, Samyabadi Dal, Gonotantrik Mazdur Party and Communist Kendra.
No key leaders of the components would be deprived of nomination, said a senior AL leader seeking anonymity.
“We’ll participate in the election and form government together,” HM Ershad told reporters after meeting the AL chief and other senior leaders.
Echoing the former military strongman’s words, AL spokesman Syed Ashraful Islam said expert teams from both sides would work out a seat sharing formula.
He said AL and JP want the polls to be held on December 18 no matter what.
Ershad said, “We are saying time and again that the election must be held on December 18. If that doesn’t happen, the prospect of an election being held in near future would be little.”
He however said it would be better if all political parties take part in the polls.
Replying to a query, he claimed AL and JP had an agreement in the run-up to the cancelled election of January 22 last year that he would be picked as the country’s president provided the grand alliance wins the polls. But that issue did not come up for discussion yesterday.
AL leaders Amir Hossain Amu, Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Matia Chowdhury and Abdul Jalil and JP leaders Kazi Zafar Ahmed, Ziauddin Bablu and ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader were present at the meeting.
Queried about the JP boss’s claim, Ashraf said he does not know of any agreement.
JP leader Anisul Islam Mahmud said the decision as to which party would be in the grand alliance rests with AL.
Later in the evening, JP presidium met at its chairman’s office in Banani.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Ershad said JP and AL will submit nomination papers separately.
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