BNP on Monday alleged that the Election Commission (EC) is going to unilaterally change the names of local government institutions and their posts at the ‘behest’ of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"Now the Election Commission has no work as they have sent elections to the graveyard. He (Chief Election Commission) is now trying to rename the Union Parishad as Polli Parishad and the upazila chairman as the Upazila Pita (father), the city mayor the Mahanagar Pita,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a doa mahfil, he said, “The CEC is changing the long traditional names and systems of the (local govt) institution following the instruction of Sheikh Hasina. He is not taking the opinions of any other political party.”
Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal arranged the programme on the ground floor of BNP’s Nayapaltan Central office seeking salvation of the departed souls of Swechchasebak Dal president Shafiul Bari Babu and BNP’s assistant organising secretary Abdul Awal Khan.
Though the EC is an independent body, Rizvi said the current Chief Election Commissioner and other commissioners have become servants of the government by ruining their independent entity.
According to media reports, the EC has taken a move to rename local government bodies like City Corporation, Municipality and Union Parishad and their posts like mayors and chairmen in Bangla by amending the existing laws.
The Commission also published a proposal in this regard on its website last month seeking views on the amendment to the relevant laws.
About coronavirus, Rizvi said people are being pushed towards death as they are not getting treatment in rural areas after getting infected with the virus.
Stating that he visited some northern districts over the last few days, the BNP leader said people are dying in those areas without treatment as the entire health system has collapsed.
“There's no treatment in rural hospitals. Going to the hospitals there means carrying a sure death certificate in the pocket. This government has not only introduced an inhumane-political culture by resorting to crossfire, enforced disappearance, and killing, they have taken all measures to push the people of the whole country towards death," Rizvi observed.
He also alleged that the government has long been taking mega projects creating scopes for ruling party men to plunder public money, but it didn't develop the health sector. “So, people are now dying of corona infractions at the hospitals and on the roads.”
BNP standing committee has voiced deep concern over the growing incidents of killing in police firing in the country.
In a virtual meeting on Saturday night, members of the BNP’s policymaking body also decided to hold a press conference soon on the murder of retired army major Sinha Md Rashed and extrajudicial killings, said a press release on Sunday.
The BNP standing committee members said the incidents of extrajudicial killing and the violation of human rights by law enforcers are increasing alarmingly in the country.
They also expressed their worry over the murder of ex-army officer Sinha Md Rashed in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf in police firing and the deaths of other people in police custody over the last five years.
The BNP policymakers alleged the incidents of filing false cases, arresting and harassing people using the Digital Security Act are on the rise in the country.
They also said the Digital Security Act is being used to snatch freedom of speech, freedom of press and suppress dissents.
“The current illegitimate government is conspiring to stay in power and establish a one-party system of government in an undemocratic way,” the BNP leaders observed.
They also discussed the country’s current coronavirus situation and accused the government of its failure to contain the virus transmission.
The BNP leader said the government cannot protect people from the infections of the deadly virus due to its ‘negligence and indifference’.
The BNP standing committee expressed deep shock over the death of its vice-chairman and former minister Abdul Mannan and the deaths of other leaders from coronavirus.
Party standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Begum Selima Rahman and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku joined the meeting.
As the six-month suspension of their party chief Khaleda Zia's sentences in two graft cases expires next month, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said her family may apply seeking further extension of the time since there is no improvement in her illness.
Talking to UNB on Saturday, he, however, said neither BNP nor her family has taken any decision whether they will apply to the government for extending the time or not.
“Madam has not yet recovered from her illness. She’s in exactly the same condition what she was earlier (before getting released from jail). Amid such a situation, the tenure of the suspension order of her sentences will expire,” Fakhrul said.
He said, “Madam’s family has so far not taken any decision in this regard. But they can apply for it if they want as they did it earlier.”
The BNP leader said Khaleda’s family may take necessary steps at the right time for the extension of the suspension order of her sentences.
Fakhrul said the BNP chief has been receiving follow-up treatment from her personal physicians since she was released from the Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), but she cannot receive advancement treatment due to the prevalence of coronavirus.
On March 25 last, the 75-year-old BNP chief was released from jail for six months upon an executive order considering her age and humanitarian ground following an application by her family.
The government passed the executive order for her release on two conditions -- receiving treatment staying at her Gulshan residence and not leaving the country. She has been staying at her Gulshan residence since she was freed.
The six-month tenure of the order will end on September 24.
Khaleda was sent to Old Dhaka Central Jail after she had been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by a special court in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018.
The BNP chief has been staying at her Gulshan residence since she was released from the BSMMU. A special team of her personal doctors has been overseeing her health condition.
BNP standing committee members met her on the day of Eid-ul-Azha and exchanged greetings with her.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Saturday said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman does not belong to only any particular party, but also to all parties.
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had fought for protecting the interests of the country and people all his life. Bangabandhu's contributions cannot be denied in any way,” he said.
Speaking at a views-exchange meeting at Jatiya Party Chairman’s Banani office, Quader said, “The Father of the Nation doesn’t belong to any party, the Father of the Nation belongs to all the parties of the country. So, Jatiya Party will take up programmes to observe August 15.”
He said their party founder HM Ershad had said in Parliament that Jatiya Party wanted to give Bangabandhu the status of Father of the Nation. “But he couldn’t for some reasons. But Jatiya Party voted in Parliament in favour of giving Bangabandhu the status of the Father of the Nation.”
As nothing happens in a parliamentary system without the Prime Minister, the Jatiya Party Chairman said it is not possible to realise any demand by taking to the streets, creating chaos and resorting to hartal and arson.
He said Jatiya Party is doing positive politics as an opposition party. “We’re raising our voice both in Parliament and on the streets with logic. We’re speaking on behalf of the country and its people. Common people have accepted the politics of Jatiya Party and the support of the party is growing.”
About the upcoming by-polls to Dhaka-18 seat, Quader said their party will join it as a democratic party, and will stay in the race till the last moment.
The Jatiya Party chief warned that organisational action will be taken against those who will not work in favour of the party candidate in the by-polls.
BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed on Friday bemoaned that Bangladesh is now facing a serious crisis of honest politicians.
“There can be no greater misfortune for an independent country than the lack of patriotism and losing people’s power to raise voice. The lack of honest people and honest politicians is now a serious national crisis. That’s why falsehood is now becoming the truth,” he said.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, made the remarks while speaking at a virtual discussion, marking the 36th death anniversary of former minister Rear Admiral (retd) Mahbub Ali Khan.
He alleged that the culture of lies has become widespread in the politics of Bangladesh, destroying the rule of law, good governance, people’s independence and accountability of the government.
Recalling Mahbub Ali Khan’s contributions to the nation, Moudud said he loved the country and its people as an honest, patriot and brave person. “He was able to protect Talpatti because of his bravery and patriotism.”
He urged all to get inspired by the works and ideal of Mahbub Ali Khan to get rid of the current political situation and protect the interests of the country and its people.
About BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, Moudud said she is mentally strong, but her physical condition is not good since she cannot receive proper treatment due to coronavirus pandemic.
The BNP leader also said it is shameful for the nation that Khaleda was convicted in ‘false and baseless’ cases, and already suffered in jail for two years. “Now, there’s no mutual respect and tolerance in society.”
The 36th death anniversary of Mahbub Ali Khan, also a former minister for communications and agriculture and father-in-law of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, was observed on Thursday amid various programmes.
In observance of the day, a group of BNP leaders arranged the virtual discussion on his life and works.