Shedding their tough stance over the election issue, former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key-ally fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) applied for the mandatory registration as an extended election commission deadline expired on Monday.
Political sources said BNP and JI separately submitted the registration forms after they brought changes in their party constitutions overnight for the mandatory registration under the revised election law.
Zia's arch rival Sheikh Hasina's Awami League applied for the registration last week after carrying out reforms in the party constitution to comply with the new law, scrapping front organisations and overseas units, besides incorporating provisions to facilitate intra party democracy.
Election Commission officials said as many as 53 parties had applied for registration, a mandatory provision for contesting the polls under the amended Representation of People Order (RPO), while EC officials said as high as 20 parties could eventually be found eligible.
Today's development came as emergency-ruled Bangladesh's two major parties shifted their stance overnight with BNP apparently softening and Awami League taking a tougher position on the election issue.
"People often do something against its will . . . We've had whatever changes we needed for in our constitution to get registered with the Election Commission," BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain told newsmen emerging from a party meeting ahead of midnight on Sunday.
BNP's key partner Jamaat too earlier carried out some drastic changes in its charter to meet the criteria under the RPO as part of a massive electoral reform.