Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNB) – Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Saturday urged the people of the country to remain alert about possible obstruction to voting and get organised to protect the country’s election process.
Speaking at a press conference, he also renewed his call to the people to guard the polling stations so that the parliamentary elections on December 30 are held in a free and fair manner.
“As the owners of the state, people must guard the polling stations so that the elections are held in a credible manner. I sincerely urge all to remain alert about the election,” Dr Kamal said.
He further said, “Both the media and people are saying that there might be hindrance in various ways to the election. We all must protect the election process with united efforts thwarting the obstruction, no matter who does it -- the government or anyone else.”
Jatiya Oikyafront arranged the press conference at the Jatiya Press Club about the arrest of opposition leaders and activists and the election atmosphere.
Dr Kamal urged the country’s people to go to polling stations in the morning on the election day and make sure all of their neighbours can cast their votes without any hindrance.
He said they want people to actively take part in governing the country. “The responsibility doesn’t end if only after the vote is cast. It’s a big responsibility to elect honest and competent persons after scrutiny while giving votes.”
The Oikyafront chief went on saying, “Because, if the country’s owners don’t elect their representatives properly, the entire nation will be deprived of good governance, constitutional rule and basic rights. Everyone will have to come forward considering it as a responsibility.”
Mentioning that the country’s people want a change, he said, “I, therefore, appeal to all of our people to unite as we’d obtained independence in 1971, and unite with the same determination to preserve and strengthen this independence as we move forward towards completing the 50 years of our independence in 2021.”
Dr Kamal said he believes that a free and fair election is an essential aspect of the independence and sovereignty of a country. “If the right to vote can’t be exercised by the country’s people through a free and fair election, the very independence of the country is at stake.”
He said all the Oikyafront partners are conscious of the vital importance of nominating the best and worthiest candidates as people will establish their ownership of the country through the election.
Dr Kamal also said a single list of candidates of the Jatiya Oikyafront will emerge after the scrutiny of the nomination papers. “My prayers will be with all of our candidates for their success and the victory of our people.”
“I’ll appeal to all of our people to ensure that the election is free and fair, and will urge the Election Commission to discharge its function impartially and independently with fairness as it is required by the constitution and make sure that those who are engaged in the conduct of election--presiding officers, polling officers and others. It should discharge its functions with complete integrity devoid of any partisanship or loyalty to any party candidate, and appoint polling agents who are persons of integrity and courage and who may not be bought or prevented from performing their duty,” he said.
Replying to a question, Dr Kamal said Jatiya Oikyafront, if comes to power, will run the country following the basic principles of the Constitution instead of introducing new politics. “We’ll do politics following the Constitution.”
Asked whether they will restore caretaker government system if they are voted to power, he did not give any specific answer, saying they will do everything taking people’s opinions for ensuring neutral elections.
The Oikyafront chief also said they will present their manifesto within a few days. “The manifesto is being prepared in the light of the Constitution.”
Explaining the reason behind his decision not to contest the election, Dr Kamal said, “There’s no mystery behind it as I’m 80-year-old. There’s no dearth of leadership as there’re many capable and competent leaders. Many elderly people don’t want to quit the leadership position. I’m also not stepping aside from works.”
He said he did not join polls even in 2008. “So, my decision of not contesting the election is nothing new.”
Dr Kamal also said they may move to the court seeking remedy as the Election Commission imposed some bars to photojournalists which may hamper their professional duties during the voting.
He urged journalists to play an important role in providing people with accurate information so that they can get back their ownership of the country through the election.
Dhaka, Nov 30 (UNB) - Voicing deep concern over the arrest of their party’s three candidates, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday said the Election Commission (EC) is going to implement a government’s blueprint instead of holding a fair and credible election.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson's Gulshan office, he also alleged that the EC is working as per the directives of the ‘prime minister and the government’.
“Our three candidates were arrested over the last two days. It has now become clear that the EC is not going to hold an acceptable and fair election. They’re implementing the government’s blueprint,” he said.
The BNP leader also alleged that the prime minister is trying to control the entire election process as she fears a defeat in a credible election.
He also said the activities of the Election Commission and the government raised questions in public mind whether the election will be held or not.
Fakhrul urged the EC to take steps to stop the arrest of BNP leaders and activists and the filing of fictitious cases against them.
He also demanded immediate release of their arrested candidates and other leaders and activists. “Or else, the Election Commission and the government will be held responsible for any emerging situation.”
The BNP leader said their party will formally lodge complaints with the EC about the arrest of their candidates and party’s leaders and activists on Saturday and Sunday.
He alleged that though they sent a number of letters to the EC with their various observations and demands including the transfer of partisan officials of the police and civil administrations, it has not taken any action yet in this regard.
The BNP leader also opposed the appointment of Harun-ur-Rashid as Narayanganj Superintendent of Police (SP).
Reacting to Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s remark that BNP secretary general has no control over the party leaders and activists, he questioned as to why his counterpart is worried about BNP.
“He (Quader) earlier said we wouldn’t get candidates in 300 seats. In reality, we’ve more than one candidate in almost every seat. I would like to urge him to ensure a fair election and level-playing field and then see how many seats they get. They (AL) are indulging in various games as they won’t have more than 30 seats,” Fakhrul observed.
He alleged that tough the ruling party candidates are violating the election code of conduct, the Election Commission is not taking any action against them.
The BNP leader said the lower court is passing some orders on the cases of their leaders and candidates that are putting obstacles to a free and fair election.
Dhaka, Nov 30 (UNB) – BNP on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself creating barriers towards ensuring a level-playing field by 'violating' the electoral code of conduct.
“Over 150 retired army officers met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban on Tuesday and promised to work for ensuring Awami League’s victory. The Prime Minister’s such activities using Ganobhaban and enjoining all government facilities are making the election controversial,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he further said, “Isn’t the retired army officers’ commitment of working for Awami League at Ganobhaban in presence of the Prime Minister a violation of the electoral code of conduct?”
The BNP leader also said Sheikh Hasina’s such ‘illegal’ activities have demonstrated that the government is again moving on to hold a unilateral and voter-less election.
Rizvi alleged that the Prime Minister on Tuesday made ‘indecent and provocative’ remarks against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, its acting chairman Tarique Rahman and the top most leader of the Jatiya Oikyafront. “She can’t make such statements after the announcement of the election schedule. The Prime Minister violated the code of conduct with her offensive comments.”
He said Hasina also took interviews of Awami League’s nomination seekers at Ganobhaban, held a meeting with returning officers, and worked out plans with minsters and MPs at Ganobhaban to ensure her party’s victory in a 'lopsided election'.
The BNP leader alleged that though they lodged written complaints with the Election Commission (EC) about the violation of the code of conduct by the Prime Minister, it still did not take any action against her.
He said the Election Commission is providing the government all-out cooperation in holding a stage-managed election.
Rizvi urged the EC to exercise its constitutional authorities to ‘restore’ people’s ‘lost’ voting rights. “We hope you will take prompt action against the Prime Minister for violating the electoral code of conduct, and take steps for creating a proper election atmosphere.”
Dhaka, Nov 30 (UNB) – BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed on Friday urged the country’s voters to get united and cast their votes on December 30 under any situation to free Khaleda Zia from jail and get rid of the “misrule and oppression of the current government”.
“I would like to tell the voters that this is your time. You take oath that you’ll cast your votes. This is a struggle of the country’s 10 crore voters, not only of BNP and Jatiya Oikyafront,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, he further said, “I call upon all to convince voters that this is the last chance to free Khaleda Zia and get rid of the repression of the current government.”
Adorsho Nagorik Andolon and Jatiya Manobadhikar Andolon jointly organised the programme at the Jatiya Press Club.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, said a mass wave has been created in favour of the ‘Sheaf of Paddy’ across the country, and the ruling party will not be able to tackle it if people can cast their votes. “That’s why we should persuade the voters that they must go to polling stations braving all obstacles, threats and intimidations. We must put up a strong resistance if they (AL) create any obstacles. We have no other alternative to it.”
He also asked BNP leaders and activists not to get frustrated but to make their all-out efforts to get success in the struggle of vote by mobilising people. “I also call upon all to keep in touch with people and organise them to win the election. We’ve no chance to lose this time as people are with us,” the BNP leader said.
He said people are ready to give a befitting reply to the “misdeeds” of the current government through ballots.
The BNP leader voiced concern that their party’s three candidates were arrested over the last two days while the law enforcers continued implicating their leaders and activists in ‘fictitious’ cases and raiding their houses.
“The government knows it very well that they can’t win the polls, no matter how many evil designs they make as they have no vote at the field level. So, they don’t want voters to go to the polling stations,” he observed.
Moudud accused his electoral opponent and Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader of violating the election code of conduct by staging a big showdown with people and candidates of two other constituencies while submitting his nomination paper.
He said the Election Commission (EC) is playing an inactive role in ensuring a level-playing field.
The BNP leader said though they sent letters to the EC with their demands for transferring the partisan officials of police and field administration, it did not take any action in this regard.
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said the EC is working as a ‘puppet’ of the government instead of trying to create a level-playing field.
He said people are waiting to give votes under any circumstance to ensure the victory of the Jatiya Oikyafront.
Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said the current government‘s fall is certain as people are not with it.
He said larger number of aspirants submitted their nomination papers to contest the election with BNP’s election symbol, which has indicated people’s growing support for the party.
Zafrullah, however, said BNP will face problem in the election if it cannot effectively handle candidates while giving final nomination after scrutiny.
Dhaka, Nov 30 (UNB) – Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said his party’s election manifesto will be unveiled by December 15.
The plan to transform villages into townships will get preference while incorporating development programmes in the manifesto, Quader said while talking to reporters at the party president’s Dhanmondi political office in the morning.
Focusing on various achievements of the present government, Obaidul said, “Though BNP was in power for a long time, it could not present any mega project. Instead, the country had fallen behind during its rule for lack of farsightedness.”
Quader, also Road Transport and Bridges Minister, hoped that the Awami League manifesto will earn the appreciation of the people of the country.
Some 50 new faces will be there in the in the Awami League nomination to gradually change the old guards at its all levels, said Obaidul.
“Awami League won’t flee the country, no matter whether it remains in power or not… we’ll do politics for the people of the country,” he added.
The 11th preliminary elections are scheduled to be held on December 30.