Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) – Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) on Tuesday announced to take part in the 11th parliamentary elections as part of its movement for ensuring a fair and neutral election.
On behalf of LDA, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) general secretary Shah Alam came up with the announcement at a press conference at Mukti Bhababan in the capital’s Paltan area.
“A public perception is there that the government has set a trap to hold a lopsided election as its schedule was announced without meeting the demands of political parties,” he said.
In a written speech, the CPB leader also said, “We’ve continued our street movement to ensure responsible attitude of the Election Commission and the government, and remove anxiety over the election. At the same time, we’ve decided to join the polls as part of our movement without falling into the trap of unilateral election.”
CPB president Mujahidul Islam Selim said joining election does not mean their alliance has agreed that the polls will be held in a fair and credible manner as they have taken the decision as part of their struggle.
Selim said both the Awami League and BNP become desperate for a fair election when they remain as opposition, but they are out to hold a farcical election after going to power. “That’s why we think a credible election is not possible under a partisan government.”
He said they also think the 11th parliamentary elections will be flawed ones, not free and fair.
The CPB president also said they may boycott the election if the situation demands.
LDA coordinator Saiful Huq said people do not believe that the election will be fair, while the government did not take any step to restore people’s confidence.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) - Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said BNP’s demand for deferring the general election to facilitate the foreign observers to monitor the polls is funny, irrelevant, baseless and illogical.
“A state can’t defer its election if foreign observers fail to monitor it for their personal reasons,” he said while talking to reporters at the Awami League president’s political office at Dhanmondi.
Quader, also Road Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the remarks against the backdrop of BNP’s allegation that the general election date was fixed on December 30 at the behest of the government to rig vote amid the absence of foreign election observers and diplomats due to Christmas and New Year.
He said there are many countries which are friends of Bangladesh. “And our country is not inferior to anyone in respect to dignity,” he said.
Replying to a query, the ruling party leader said if BNP tries to wage any movement demanding deferment of the election, the country’s people will resist them.
He, however, said the Election Commission (EC) will decide everything about the polls.
Earlier in the day, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, “The election date has been set on December 30 so that foreign observers can’t stay here and monitor the polls. The foreign observers, ambassadors, high commissioners and officials of different countries will be on leave on the occasion of Christmas, 31st and New Year.”
Speaking at a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he renewed their demand for deferring the election schedule by a month. “A fresh schedule must be announced further and a level-playing field will have to be created for all the political parties.”
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) - Female leaders of different political parties at a workshop here on Tuesday called for raising the nomination to women candidates by political parties in the forthcoming generation election to 33 percent for their real empowerment.
At the workshop, they came up with the common voice that female leaders and workers in their respective political parties are not being treated equally with their male counterparts.
Rather, they said, they always face discriminations when it comes to party leadership role due to conventional attitude of party leaders.
“Still, women are being treated as women, not as persons, by all political parties,” Selima Hossain, a former minister and BNP vice chairman, told the workshop organised by Democracy International (DI) at a city hotel.
The workshop titled ‘Advancing Women’s Leadership in the General Election: Increasing Women Candidate and Campaign Managers’ was addressed, among others, by Jatiya Party Presidium member Masuda Rashid Chowdhury, Awami League education secretary Shamsunnahar Chapa, BNP leader Shirin Sultana and a good number of aspirant candidates of Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party.
Katie Croke, COP of DI, presided over the programme. USAID and UKAid were its co-organisers.
At one stage of the function, tension escalated when Awami League leader Shamsunnahar said BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was rightly imprisoned for her corruption.
The BNP female leaders who were present there protested the remark loudly.
Speaking at the programme, BNP leader Selima Hossain alleged that their party Chairperson Khaleda Zia was imprisoned illegally only to make her a political victim.
She also said women are the victims of discriminations in politics as well although the top leaders of all the parties inside and outside of parliament are women.
Awami League leader Shamsunnahar Chapa said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been trying hard for the development of the women folk in society.
She said the SDGs are unlikely to be achieved if 33 percent of female candidates are not given nominations by political parties to contest the national election.
BNP leader Shirin Sultana said all the political parties still hold the same view that female candidates cannot compete with their male counterparts in generation elections.
She said they show the excuse of keeping seats reserved seats in parliament when it comes to giving nominations to female candidates.
Shirin Sultana urged all to work together to raise the rate of nomination to female candidates by different parties to 33 percent.
Mohila Awami League general secretary Mahmuda Begum said having 33 percent female candidates in parliamentary elections will not be ensured unless a law is put in place by the Election Commission.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) - BNP on Tuesday submitted another list of 1002 ‘fictitious cases’ filed against its leaders and activists to the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO).
BNP assistant office secretary Taiful Islam Tipu told UNB that the fresh list of ‘fictitious cases’ was submitted to the PMO at 4:50pm and an official, Ruhul Amin, received it.
He said it was a partial list like that of previous one they submitted last week.
The BNP leader said they will send more lists of such cases to the PMO in the days to come. “We’ve so far submitted the list of 2,048 cases.”
Besides, he said, they will submit the same list to Awami League President’s Dhanmondi office.
During a dialogue with Dr Kamal Hosain-led Jatiya Oikyafront on November 1, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the BNP leaders to submit the list of its arrested leaders and activists to her.
In a letter attached with the list, BNP requested the government to stop the arrest and harassment of its leaders and activists in ‘false’ and ‘fictitious’ cases.
The party also urged the government to withdraw the cases.
Earlier on Nov 7, the party submitted a list of 1,046 such cases against its leaders and activists to the PMO.
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) – Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Tuesday said the resignation letters of the four technocrat ministers will come into effect once the Prime Minister accepts those.
“The prime minister may accept their letters any time,” Tofail said while briefing journalists following a meeting with Norwegian Ambassador HH Sidsel Bleken at his secretariat office in the city.
Responding to a query from a reporter whether Khaleda Zia will be able to contest the 11th national election, Tofail said, “As per the constitution, a convict cannot contest any election.”
Asked about fixing the date of the 11th national election on December 30 where foreign election observers and diplomats may not come due to Christmas and New Year, the minister said, “There’s no bar from our side.”
He also said the election will be fair and free as all the political parties will be participating in it.
Responding to a question about the entry of journalists into polling stations, Tofail said the Election Commission is the authority to decide it.
In response to another question whether the seven-point demand of Jatiya Oikyafront could be met, Tofail said the Oikyafront leaders also know it very well that their all the demands could not be fulfilled and that is why they have decided to contest the election.
“Their first demand was the resignation of Prime Minister. If India can hold election under their Prime Minister, what’s the problem in Bangladesh?” he questioned.
“We expect that the election will be held in a peaceful atmosphere with the participation of all the political parties,” the minister hoped.
A total 4,300 aspirants have collected Awami League’s nomination paper so far and the Prime Minister will provide directions to them on Wednesday, he said.
“Besides, the parliamentary board meeting will be held after 15 November. Then the final decision about the nomination will be taken,” said Tofail.
During the meeting with Norwegian Ambassador HH Sidsel Bleken, Tofail said they discussed Bangladesh’s forthcoming election and the trade and commerce between the two countries.
Thirteen Norwegian companies have invested US$ 250 million in Bangladesh so far, he said.