The BNP-led 19-party alliance will field single candidate in the upcoming upazila elections to ensure victory of their candidates. BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has already asked her party leaders to ensure so that single candidate contests in each post of Upazila chairman and vice-chairman. The alliance has taken the polls seriously considering that if the alliance-backed candidates win the polls in majority upazilas, it will be a major boost to gear up the anti-government movement in the coming days. BNP has formed a central committee to coordinate the elections in 215 upazilas, to be held in two phases – on February 19 and 27. In the first phase, the polls will be held in 98 Upazilas while 117 Upazilas in second phase out of the total 487 upazilas across the country. The elections to the rest of the upazilas would be held in March and May. In the first phase of elections, Jamaat leaders are contesting BNP leaders in at least 30, party sources said. Khaleda Zia has asked senior leaders of her party to sit with district and upazila level leaders of the respective areas, where the elections are going to be held, to select consensus candidates. As per the directive, some leaders have already visited their respective areas. BNP vice chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, who is assigned to select 19-party singe candidate in Sylhet, told The New Nation that they are trying to ensure single candidate. Local leaders will finalise the candidates through discussion with others and the high-command will coordinate with the local level leaders in this regard, he said. He, however, said that they are confident that they will be able to convince the local BNP leaders not to run against each other. He is also confident that they will also be able to convince Jamaat-e-Islami in selecting single candidate. Awami League has also taken the election seriously, as it is a prestige issue for the ruling party. Prime Minister and AL President Sheikh Hasina has already asked her party leaders to select single candidate in the polls. Though local government election is supposed to be held on non-party basis but major political parties extend support to candidates of their parties. Both the major parties take keen interest in local government elections. BNP-led alliance candidates won the polls in most of the city corporation elections last year. The alliance wants to play identical role also in the upazila elections. BNP chairperson’s adviser Dr Osman Faruk said that although there is no scope of contesting the elections using the party banner, but the party will coordinate.