Dhaka, Jan 14 (UNB) – The Election Commission (EC) will announce election schedules on February 17 for 50 reserved seats of the 11th parliament exclusively for women.
EC Secretary Helaluddin on Monday disclosed it while briefing reporters after a meeting of the Election Commission at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
“The polls schedules for the reserved seats will be announced on February 17,” he said.
He said the meeting also decided to start the 5th countrywide upazila election in the first week of March and use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all sadar upazila parishads.
The schedule for the 5th countrywide upazila will be announced in the first week of February, said the EC Secretary adding that the upazila elections will be held in phases.
Ahead of the election to the reserved seats, Awami League is going to start selling nomination forms among aspirants on Tuesday (Jan 15).
The aspirants will have to collect the nomination forms from the AL president’s Dhanmondi political office in the city from Tuesday 10:00 am, said an AL media release on Saturday.
According to the proportional representation in Parliament, Awami League will get women MPs from 43 reserved seats, Jatiya Party from 4 seats, BNP from one, and other parties and the coalition of independent MPs will get the remaining two seats.
Out of the 300 parliamentary constituencies across the country, Awami League won elections in 257, while Jatiya Party in 22, BNP in six, Workers’ Party in three, Gano Forum, Jasod and Bikalpadhara in two seats each, Tarikat Federation and JP in one seat each in the recent 11th general election.
Besides, independent candidates were elected in three constituencies in the polls held on December 30 last.
The remaining one constituency will go to polls on January 27, as the election was postponed there earlier following the death of a candidate.
The Election Commission has a legal obligation to arrange the polls to the 50 reserved seats within 90 days after the gazette of general election result is published.
The directly-elected members of parliament are the voters of the election.
If the number of nominated candidates by a political party is equal to its reserved seats, the contenders will be declared elected unopposed immediately after the last date for withdrawal of candidacy.
However, eight MPs-elect of Jatiya Oikyafront –- six from BNP and two from Gano Forum -- have not taken oath of office as MPs.
Dhaka, Jan 14 (UNB) – Jatiya Party cochairman GM Quader on Monday said their party will not be a questionable opposition as they will earn people’s confidence through their vibrant role in parliament.
“Jatiya Party will gain people’s confidence through playing the due role of the opposition party in parliament,” he said.
GM Quader, also the deputy opposition leader in parliament, came up with the remarks while Rajshahi city unit Jatiya Party leaders met him at party chairman’s Banani office.
The Jatiya Party leaders greeted GM Quader with a bouquet as he was made the deputy opposition leader.
He said they will work for strengthening their party further before the next general election. “Jatiya Party has a good prospect of becoming a very strong party in Bangladesh politics in the days to come.”
GM Quader said many popular and established politicians will join their party in the future due to the current political context. “Jatiya Party will remain as a strong party with people’s affection though many political parties will gradually be eliminated.”
Rajshahi city unit Jatiya Party general secretary Mostafa Rahman Dalim, vice presidents Lutfur Rahman, Nazrul Islam and Enamul Haque were, among others, present.
Sylhet, Jan 14 (UNB) – BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said the 11th parliamentary election will remain written as a black chapter in Bangladesh’s political history.
“The usurper government has snatched people’s voting rights and violated the constitution. They robbed of people’s verdict like dacoits,” he said while talking to reporters after offering fateha at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R).
Fakhrul said people have got shocked and aggrieved across the country as they could not exercise their right to franchise on December 30.
Replying to a question, he said Jatiya Oikyafront will join the proposed talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina if election-centric agenda is fixed.
“We don’t know what will be the agenda of the talks. Our only agenda is to have the election revoked. Jatiya Oikyafront will consider joining the dialogue if election-centric agenda is fixed,” he added.
Fakhrul, also the spokesman of Oikyafront, said the December-30 election must be annulled and the current ‘incompetent’ Election Commission will have to be reconstituted to hold a fresh national election under a non-party neutral government.
“The government will have to be formed through holding a credible election under an impartial government and Election Commission,” he said.
The BNP leader said the fresh initiative for dialogue will not be fruitful like the one held before the 11th parliamentary election if their demand for holding a fresh national election under a non-party government is not accepted.
Responding to another question, Fakhrul said Oikyafront remains intact and there is no conflict among its partners.
Asked whether their party will join the upcoming upazila elections, the BNP leader did not give any specific answer, saying elections to the local bodies are not that much important like parliamentary one as the government cannot be changed by such polls.
Fakhrul together with Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) president ASM Abdur Rob, Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gono Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury and general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu reached Sylhet by air around 11:45am.
From the airport, they went to the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal (R).
They also offered fateha at the shrines Shah Paran (R) before going to violence-hit Balaganj upazila where a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leader was gunned down by criminals on December 30, the voting day.
The Oikyafront leaders also offered fateha at the grave of slain Balaganj JCD general secretary Sayem Ahmed Sohel, and met his bereaved family members to console them.
They also addressed a meeting arranged by Balaganj’s Gouripur union unit JCD in memory of Sayem Ahmed.
Speaking at the programme, Fakhrul said Sayem embraced martyrdom to protect people’s voting rights.
JCD leader Sayem Ahmed was shot to death during a clash over occupying Azizpur Government Primary School polling centre in Balaganj upazila on December 30.
Sylhet, Jan 13 (UNB) – Senior leaders of Jatiya Oikyafront (JOF) are going to Sylhet on Monday to visit violence-hit Balaganj upazila where a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leader was gunned down by criminals during voting December 30.
A five-member Oikyafront delegation, led by BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, is scheduled to reach Sylhet around 10:45am by air, BNP chairperson’s media wing member Sayrul Kabir Khan told UNB on Sunday.
The four other leaders are Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) president ASM Abdur Rob, Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna.
Sylhet district BNP office secretary M Fakhrul Islam said the Oikyafront leaders will first offer fateha at the shrines of Hazrat Shahjalal (R) and Hazrat Shahjalal (R).
Later, they will go to Balaganj and offer fateha at the grave of slain Balaganj JCD general secretary Sayem Ahmed Sohel, and meet his bereaved family members to console them.
The Oikyafront leaders will also visit some election violence-hit areas in the upazila before returning to Dhaka.
JCD leader Sayem Ahmed was shot to death during a clash over capturing Azizpur Government Primary School polling centre in Balaganj upazila on December 30.
Dhaka, Jan 13 (UNB) – Observing that it is not necessary to be in parliament to become the opposition, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia during a hearing in a court here on Sunday said those who speak for people are the real opposition.
“Remaining in parliament never makes any party opposition, it can be from out of parliament if they stand for people,” she said during the hearing in the Niko graft case at the makeshift court inside the Old Dhaka Central Jail.
The court set January 21 for the next hearing in the case while January 15 for hearing an application filed by the BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, another accused in the case.
In the beginning of the day’s proceedings, Moudud Ahmed started reading out the first information report and the charge-sheet of the case.
“It was the Awami League government which inked the deal with Niko. We just maintained its continuity. Those who struck the deal are now free. I’ve no hesitation to say we’re now the opposition …”
At this point, lawyer Borhanuddin reminded Moudud that they are not even the opposition now and Moudud instantly told the court they are now nowhere.
It was then when Khaleda who was sitting on a wheelchair came up with her remarks.
She said a party can be the opposition even if it is out of parliament. “Now we see the opposition can be from inside the government, too. BNP is the most popular party, no matter what condition it is in.”
Meanwhile, BNP’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir went to the courtroom and talked to their chairperson during the hearing.
Later, he left the court around 12:55 pm.
Earlier around 12:22pm, Khaleda was taken to the Special Judge Court-9 of Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman on a wheelchair.
On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case accusing Khaleda and others of causing the state a loss of Tk 137.77 billion by signing an oil-gas exploration deal with Canadian company Niko when the BNP was in office.
Police submitted a charge-sheet against the accused on May 5, 2008.
The others accused in the case are former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique, Khandaker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain, former Bapex general manager Mir Mainul Haq, its former secretary Shafiur Rahman, Giasuddin Al Mamun, former MP MAH Selim and former vice-president of South-Asia affairs Niko Kashem Sharif.
Khaleda has been serving in jail after a court sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust on February 8 last. The sentence was later extended to 10 years by the High Court.