Dhaka, Jan 12 (UNB) – Awami League will sit with its leaders and public representatives from Dhaka and its five nearby districts on Sunday.
The joint meeting will begin at 11am at AL’s central office in the capital’s Bangabandhu avenue, said a party press release on Saturday.
The five nearby districts are Gazipur, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Manikganj and Narsingdi.
Presidents and general secretaries of the party’s all district, city, upazila, thana and municipality units as well as AL MPs, its city corporation mayors, district council chairmen, upazila chairmen and municipality mayors from the six districts will join the meeting.
AL general secretary Obaidul Quader will preside over the meeting, according to a press release.
Dhaka, Jan 12 (UNB) - Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Saturday said it was a mistake of his party to join the recent 11th parliamentary elections with Jamaat-e-Islami under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront (JOF).
“I’ve already publicly said I was not aware of Jamaat candidates in the election. When I gave consent… I was not informed about Jamaat. I think you (journalists) can say it was a mistake”, he said.
Dr Kamal came up with the remarks at a press conference at Gono Forum’s Arambagh central office after a meeting of party’s central committee.
He also said he never did politics with Jamaat and will not do either in the future.
“My position is clear we never did politics with Jamaat nor think of doing it in the future but what you’re saying about doing politics with Jamaat, we were not aware of it,” he said.
Replying to a question, Dr Kamal said they will mount pressure on BNP to drop Jamaat from its alliance to keep the Oikyafront intact and make it stronger.
The election was held on December 30, 2018, bringing a landslide victory for the ruling Awami League amid allegations of widespread rigging and irregularities.
Asked what will be the position of Gono Forum if BNP does not ditch Jamaat, he said, “It’s a hypothetical question. We’ll talk about it if it happens.”
Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu said their party forged the alliance with BNP, not with the 20-party and Jamaat. “We raised our objection when 22 Jamaat leaders were nominated to contest the election with Sheaf of Paddy. The BNP secretary general had told us they nominated them as BNP candidates, not as Jamaat leaders.”
He said they now want to resolve the Jamaat issue. “We surely want a solution to the issue as we won’t do politics with Jamaat.”
Asked whether their party’s two MPs will take oath, Montu said they will decide it later after discussions.
At the meeting of their central committee, he said, their leaders discussed the December-30 election, post-election atmosphere and worked out their party’s future course of action.
Montu said their leaders strongly believe that there is no alternative to a national unity for waging a democratic movement in the days to come to ‘restore’ democracy. “But a strong national unity will have to be forged in the future correcting the unintended mistakes that took place during the hurried formation of Jatiya Oikyafront.”
He pushes for fresh polls by 2-3 months
Dr Kamal said there is no disagreement among people to form the parliament through a fair and acceptable election. “No one, other than the ruling party spokesman, is saying that there was a fair election on December 30, and there is no scope to say that. I think it’s not a big deal to resolve such a problem. The government should hold a fair election by two to three months enabling all to cast votes freely in the interest of the country and the constitution.”
He said the government should think it did not gain people’s trust through the 11th parliamentary election as they were denied their right to vote. “People should be given a chance so that they can cast their votes as per their will. If you get majority in a fair election, it’ll be very meaningful.”
The Gano Forum chief said doing something hastily at the dead of night and announcing its results cannot be called an election. “The government shouldn’t have any confusion to get rid of the questions raised regarding the December-30 election.”
He thinks the government held such an election for maintaining the continuation of the government as it did on January 5, 2014. “You should hold a meaningful election alongside maintaining the continuation.”
Dr Kamal urged the government to hold a fair election instead of indulging in debate over the December-30 one showing respect for the constitution. “If a government is formed through a fair and credible election, it’ll be easier for it to discharge its duties properly.”
Around 70 leaders of the party central committee joined the meeting that began at 10am and concluded around 3:45pm.
Dhaka, Jan 12 (UNB) – Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy on Saturday said BNP and Oikyafront, having been thoroughly rejected by voters, have started begging their foreign masters for help.
“They’re on an international lobbying and PR blitz to try to prove that our elections were rigged. The fact is that it’s mathematically impossible,” said Joy, also son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In a post shared on his verified Facebook page, he said the Awami League's margin over the BNP is about 49 million votes.
Joy said it is simply not possible to manipulate elections by 49 million votes without it being caught on everyone’s mobile camera. “As for their claims of voter intimidation, even if every voter who did not vote for AL voted for the Oikyafront, they would still be more than 22 million votes short.”
Still, Joy said, a section of so-called ‘civil society’ continues to join the BNP’s international PR campaign against the election.
Addressing all their complaints, Joy raised a few of his own, saying the final voter turnout figure is 80 percent and it is not a record in Bangladesh.
“That distinction is held by the 2008 elections under the 2007-2008 “caretaker” regime when turnout was 87%. The AL won that election in a landslide with 48% of the vote by itself. In 2001, the voter turnout was around 75.6% and in 1996 it was 75%. Turnout was just slightly higher because this is the first fully participatory elections in a decade,” he added.
The second propaganda, Joy said, is that the ruling party received 90 percent of the vote. “This is a complete falsehood. The AL by itself received around 72 percent.”
The grand alliance allies received just under 5 percent and even the 72 percent is not a record for the AL. Joy said in the 1973 election after Independence the AL received 73.2 percent of the vote. “Just as the reason then was the AL led the country to Independence, our vote increase this time has two very good reasons.”
Finding reasons behind this, Joy said, the AL government has improved the lives of citizens more than any other government in Bangladesh’s history.
“We have become a middle-income country, per capita income has trebled, poverty has been halved, almost everyone has access to education, basic healthcare, electricity, and the list is endless. If there was a way to improve the lives of the Bangladeshi people, our Government has done it or the progress is visible,” he added.
Joy said “civil society” keeps harping about how the Bangladeshi voters are anti-incumbent, but that is just an indication of how out of touch they are with the common man.
“If you’re an ordinary citizen, even if you’re a wealthy businessman, your life and business are doing so much better now since the AL has turned Bangladesh into the fastest growing economy in the world. Why would you vote against the government that has transformed your life and business?”
The second reason, he said, is that their election campaign did not start last year. “It started right after the 2014 elections. We have not wasted any opportunity to inform the Bangladeshi people that we, the Awami League, are solely responsible for the positive changes in their lives.”
Joy said, “While our opposition and “civil society” were busy complaining about problems, we were telling people how we were providing solutions.”
Joy said the BNP’s Chairperson has been convicted and is in jail while their acting Chairperson is a fugitive who is not even in Bangladesh. “Their organization is in complete disarray. But those are not the most significant factors. There is one factor our “civil society” doesn’t want to acknowledge as it makes the BNP look really, really bad!”
Joy said, “I’ve observed its effect through annual opinion polls. Once the BNP started burning civilians alive during their 2013-15 arson attack campaign, their popularity fell off a cliff. Prior to the arson attacks the BNP was usually around 10% behind the AL in opinion polls. After the arson attacks they fell 30% behind and kept falling.”
Describing opposition’s “self-defeating election campaign”, Joy said the first thing they did was to bring out Tarique Rahman to pick election nominees.
“All this managed to do is remind people of Hawa Bhaban and his corruption and violence. To add fuel to the fire, he picked known and wanted criminals and war criminals as candidates! Do you think their popularity would increase or decrease after this?”
Next, he said, the message they kept sending out to their supporters until the last minute was that they would boycott the elections.
“If you think your party is going to boycott, are you going to go out to vote? This is what caused the drop in their voter turnout and hence, their low percentage of the vote,” he said.
Finally, Joy said, the only message the BNP and Oikyafront had for the people of Bangladesh is that the AL is bad. “Given that the people could see the visible improvements in their lives over the past decade of the AL Government this was an extremely tough sell.”
The Oikyofront’s figurehead Kamal Hossain did not even run in this election, Joy said adding, “Why is that?”
He added, “It is because he knew he had absolutely no chance of winning a seat for himself. Of course, they surprised us. For the very first time in their existence as a political non-entity, his Gono Forum has actually won not one, but two seats! If there was any rigging in these elections, how could an opposition party that has never won a single seat win two?”
Joy said the truth is far simpler – “If you’re a citizen and especially a youth who sees a dynamic leader such as Sheikh Hasina developing and transforming the country, it won’t matter how much mud the opposition slings. At the end of the day you are going to vote for the party that is improving your life and the country.”
Dhaka, Jan 12 (UNB) – BNP on Saturday alleged that the ruling party is unwilling to sit in talks with opposition parties as it has no answer to defend ‘huge fake votes cast during the December-30 election’.
“The ruling party leaders are bragging shamelessly over an election of massive fake votes.” Can it be called an election when 30-50 percent ballots were stuffed the night before the voting?” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he further said, “Despite serious threats, the local and foreign media and political parties are now presenting the documents of vote rigging. No one accepted the election. So, Obaidul Quader and ruling party leaders are not willing to engage in dialogue as they have no answer to justify the grand vote robbery.”
Rizvi came up with the remarks as ruling party secretary general Obaidul Quader termed absurd Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain’s call for a dialoged on the election.
At discussion on Thursday, Dr Kamal Hossain claimed that no sane person can hold a ‘so-called’ and ‘farcical’ election like that of the December 30, and called for a national dialogue to find ways for arranging the polls as per the constitution.
Rizvi alleged that Awami League ‘robbed people’s votes by using the police and administration.
He said the different units of law enforcement agencies are now celebrating the ‘so-called victory of Awami League though arranging grand feasts at police headquarters to police stations.
“Usually, the leaders and activists of a winning political party celebrate their victory. But Awami League leaders and activists didn’t do it this time as they could ensure their party’s victory. But police, Rab and BGB are celebrating the so-called victory of a political party which is not only ridiculous and unprecedented, but also surprising.”
The BNP leader alleged that the BNP leaders and activists are being attacked and repressed at different parts of the country after the election. “Houses of opposition leaders and activists are being attacked and torched.”
He said it seems the government is trying to push the country towards a ‘civil war’ by continuously repressing BNP leaders and activists.
Dhaka, Jan 10 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday alleged that the government is trying to ‘eliminate’ its opponents with its ‘repressive acts’.
In a statement, he said, “The ruling party has become desperate to root out BNP by resorting to various evil designs.”
The statement was issued protesting the jailing of Saiful Islam Firoz, BNP’s candidate for Jhenaidah-4 seat in the 11th parliamentary elections, in a ‘false and baseless’ case.
Fakhrul alleged that getting isolated from people, the government has kept many opposition leaders and activists in jail implicating them in ‘bizarre and fabricated’ cases to prolong the one-party ‘misrule’.
He said Saiful Islam Firoz was sent to jail as he appeared before a lower court on Wednesday seeking bail in a ‘false’ case. “Firoz has become subjected to the government’s political vengeance.”
The BNP secretary general demanded that the government immediately release Firoz withdrawing the ‘false’ and ‘politically motivated’ cases filed against him.”