Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader Wednesday said the Election Commission (EC) is trying to arrange a stage-managed general election by using electronic voting machines (EVMs) in up to 150 seats.
"During their dialogues (with the EC), almost all the political parties opposed the use of EVMs, but the Election Commission decided to conduct voting with it. Most people in the country think that EVMs are vote-rigging machines," he said.
Referring to the chief election commissioner's recent remarks that it is not their responsibility to ensure all parties' participation in the polls, the Jatiya Party chief said it has cast doubt in the public mind about the EC's ability to conduct a free, impartial and acceptable election.
"It seems that the EC is trying to implement an agenda. On the other hand, the people of the country are unable to speak out. If there is a movement for any demand, the police and opponents are attacking it," he said.
GM Quader, also the deputy opposition leader in parliament, said there will not be a level playing field if the national election is held in such a context. "Where the government has 90 percent influence (on state machinery), having the police and administration in its hands, a fair election cannot be expected."
He said there is no crisis in the Jatiya Party and it will not face any split. "The Awami League and BNP have repeatedly tried to harm the Jatiya Party. None of those who left the party could establish themselves as a strong organiser. Even if someone leaves like this, the Jatiya Party will not be weak."
Replying to a question, GM Quader said Raushon Ershad called him repeatedly to inquire about his condition as his vehicle was recently hit by a bus and told him she does not want to be the chairman of the National Council.
He also said the top leaders of the Jatiya Party think that Raushon was forced to announce the party's council under pressure. "Taking advantage of her illness, some outsiders may be trying to implement a different agenda by using Begum Raushon Ershad's name."
In response to a question about the formation of an electoral alliance, the Jatiya Party chair said a decision will be made on it following a discussion in the party forum before the election. "The Jatiya Party will decide on the formation of any alliance considering the reality and the expectations of the commoners."
GM Quader, however, said their party is now preparing for elections in all 300 seats. "We are implementing regular programmes to strengthen the party."