Dhaka, 29 (UNB) – Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain has said he has no doubt about their alliance’s victory if the December-30 national election is held in a credible manner as there is huge enthusiasm among people to bring about a change in power.
He, however, said he is in doubt whether the election will be held in a free and fair manner as he thinks the government is behaving ‘abnormally’ due to lack of its ‘confidence’ in credible polls.
In an interview with UNB at his Bailey Road residence, Dr Kamal said if any government is formed against the will of people it will face ouster like HM Ershad.
He also said Oikyafront must remain intact even if it does not win the election and work for people and establish a government of people.
The Oikyafront chief also talked about their election preparations, election atmosphere, election campaign, their expectations over the December-30 election, his future role, his observations about Bangladesh’s democracy and some other issues.
“People’s spontaneous support for a change in government is remarkable. I can say without any confusion that Jatiya Oikyafront will come to power if a good election is held,” he said.
Dr Kamal, an eminent jurist and also the President of Gano Forum, questioned why the government is arresting so many opposition leaders and activists ahead of the election and why the ruling party is resorting to widespread violence by creating a ‘reign of terror’. “It seems the government has a lack of confidence. That’s why they’re behaving abnormally.”
He said their alliance could not prepare properly for the election as the election schedule was deferred by only a week ignoring their demand for one month.
Dr Kamal also said they tried to hold a pre-election grand rally in Dhaka to conclude their electioneering, but they were not allowed to do so. “It’s very abnormal attitude of the government. I got stunned seeing such unusual behaviour. The government did it as it has become autocrat. Even, we held such rallies during Ershad’s autocratic rule. The last election rally is very important, but we couldn’t hold it.”
He also said the government’s unusual activities have made him worried that it may try to bring the election results in their favour by all means.
Dr Kamal voiced his frustration over the role of the police. “The police force had manifested its partisan attitude under party governments in the past, too. But their role this time is unprecedented. They’re patrolling everywhere and arresting people without any reason. It’s a big punishment for me to witness such acts even after 47 years of the independence.”
He said political parties are still not politically mature and they are not showing respect for democracy in the country. “It’s undeniable that the quality of politics has deteriorated. The opposition used to enjoy generosity during elections held under Bangabandhu’s rule. Bangabandhu used to show respect for the opposition. He used to say the opposition is not our enemy as they are pro-democratic forces, and they should be given the equal opportunity.”
The Oikyafront chief also voiced concern that ‘so-called politics has now turned into a means of business. “We can’t call it politics. Unhealthy politics is like a cancer. Doing politics for personal gains is the sickening one. Politics should be for serving people what Bangabandhu and Tajuddin Ahmad had pursued. They didn’t do person-centric politics.”
Dr Kamal, a close aide of Bangabandhu, said Tajuddin Ahmad was removed from the cabinet, but it did not lessen his loyalty and love for his leader Sheikh Mujiubur Rahman and his party Awami League. “This is what the healthy politics is.”
To get rid of unhealthy politics and give democracy an institutional shape, he said good governance, the rule of law and the impartial enforcement of law should be ensured alongside creating public opinion against bad political culture.
Asked as to why it is not clear who will be the Prime Minister if Oikyafront comes to power, Dr Kamal said, “It’s a bit true the matter is not clear. But there’re four-five leaders in our alliance partners, including in BNP, who are highly educated and competent and experienced to be the Prime Minister. Any of them can lead (the government).”
Replying to another question that there is a public perception that he might be made President if their alliance forms the government, the Gano Forum chief said he does not want any such role as he is an octogenarian man.
He said he wants to live on a few years more to work for the country and its people. “I don’t have any desire to get any bigger post as he I was a cabinet member of Bangabandhu and a colleague of Bangabandhu and Tajuddin Ahmad. I’m lucky that I got such an opportunity at my early life and I’m happy with it.”
Dr Kamal also said he is eager to work with any government if he gets the chance to work for the people of the country.
Asked what their alliance may do if it cannot come out successful in the polls, the Oikyafront chief said the unity of patriot people is a big strength. “It can be made defeated by force, but this alliance must sustain and continue its work for people. We must remain united until a government of people is established.”
He further said, “If any government is constituted against people’s desire, it’ll face the fall…Ershad had tried to cling to power by force, but failed.”