The Election Commission on Saturday cleared BNP candidates M Morshed Khan for Chattogram-8, Afroza Abbas for Dhaka-9, Aslam Chowdhury for Chattogram-4, and independent Barrister Nazmul Huda for Dhaka-17 for the general elections slated for December 30.
However, the EC on the day upheld the decisions of the returning officers rejecting candidatures of jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7, Amanullah Aman for Dhaka-2, and Gias Uddin Quader Chowdhury for Chattogram-2 and 7, and Krishak Sramik Janata League chairman Abdul Kader Siddique, according to UNB report.
The Commission also rejected two other petitions challenging the validity of candidatures of Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad for Rangpur-3 and Mirza Abbas for Dhaka-8.
AL-led grand alliance candidate for Dhaka-8 Rashed Khan Menon filed a petition against the candidature of his rival Mirza Abbas, while PDP contestant Sabbir Ahmed submitted a petition challenging the validity of HM Ershad's candidature for Rangpur-3.
On the completion of three-day hearing, a total of 243 aspirants including 78 BNP's ones got back their candidatures as the Election Commission declared their nomination papers as valid disposing of all 543 petitions submitted challenging the returning officers' decision over rejection and acceptance of nomination papers.
Now the number of total valid contestants increased to some 2,522 for the country's 300 constituencies. On December 2, the returning officers accepted 2,279 nomination papers and rejected 786 others during the scrutiny.
A total of 543 petitions were filed with the EC, the appellate authority, seeking the decisions of returning officers overturned. Following the hearing, the commission declared 80 candidatures valid on Thursday, 78 on Friday and 85 ones on Saturday.
In the first two days, the EC cleared candidature of a number of well-known aspirants including BNP/Oikyafront candidates Golam Maula Rony for Patuakhali-3, Major (retd) Akhteruzzaman for Kishoreganj-2 and Aminul Haque for Rajshahi-1, Gono Forum aspirant and former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria's son Dr Reza Kibria for Habiganj-1 constituency.
In the next two days, the commission trashed candidatures of some important aspirants including BNP's Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu for Natore-2, Mir Mohammad Nasir for Chattogram-5, Iqbal Hasan Mahmud for Sirajganj-2 and Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan for Khagrachhari, removed Jatiya Party secretary general Ruhul Amin Hawlader (Patuakhali-1) and Ganajagaran Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarkar (Kurigram-4).
The deadline for withdrawal of candidature will expire at 5pm on Sunday (December 9). The number of final contesting candidates in the election is likely to come down again.