BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said the Awami League government will not be able to earn the confidence of people even if it builds a thousand Padma bridges keeping 'democracy besieged.
"Hold a credible election to see how much confidence people have in you (govt). Ayub Khan also carried out development activities during the Pakistan period. There’s no point of constructing a thousand Padma bridges if there is no democracy and political emancipation of people and if they don't have voting and other rights,” he said.
Fakhrul came up with the remarks at a press conference at BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office reacting to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent comment that people are giving Awami league votes again and again as they have confidence in her government.
He questioned how the government gained people’s confidence by rigging votes the night before the election day and by depriving people of their voting rights.
Reiterating their party’s stance on the next polls, the BNP leader said their party will participate in the election if it is held under a non-party neutral government.
"A neutral and non-partisan government is a must for a free and fair election in Bangladesh. Otherwise, even if you bring the election commissioners from heaven, you won’t have a credible election. “It’s impossible,” he observed.
Fakhrul who recovered from Covid infection recently came up with the outcome of their party’s standing committee meeting at the press conference.
He said their standing committee meeting feels that the government has completely failed to stand by the affected people in the flood-hit areas. “It could not reach adequate relief materials among people. There’s no visible activity by the government for rehabilitating flood victims.
The BNP leader said the meeting demanded the government immediately take steps for ensuring food, clothes, medical treatment and construction of houses for the affected people.
He said their standing committee members expressed serious resentment as the Planning Minister himself admitted that the 6th Population and Housing Census was not done properly across the country.
“It has never been possible to get the actual information through all kinds of surveys and studies during the tenure of the current government as data collection are done as per its instructions… as a result, international organisations can’t trust all the information and data of Bangladesh,” the BNP leader said.
About the sudden rise in load-shedding, Fakhrul said people across the country have been experiencing terrible power outages. “The frequent power cuts have proved that the government’s comments on cent percent electricity coverage are just rhetoric.
He said the government set up quick-rental power plants with the main goal to make their pockets heavier by indulging in corruption.
The BNP leader said the frequent power cuts are signs that Bangladesh is moving towards a fragile condition.
Fakhrul said their meeting observed that the real foreign exchange reserves now stand at 34.02 billion as $7.5billion loans from the reserves were given to the influential persons close to the government high-ups in the name of the Export Development Fund (EDF).
They said these are forced loans given by the state-owned banks and the IMF has suggested not to including this amount of money in foreign exchange reserves.
The meeting also observed that the $7.5 billion are unlikely to return as foreign currency to the country's foreign exchange reserves.
The government is doing this terrible damage to the country by violating all the rules and regulations of the economy and the reserves only for the benefit of its own close and influential people.
He said the influential people did huge damage to the country's economy by siphoning off foreign currency abroad from the country in the name of EDF loans. “Economists fear that the far-reaching effects of such loans will bankrupt the social economy and the economy as a whole.”
The BNP leader said their meeting voiced deep concern over the EDF loans from the serves and decided to present a report with detailed information on the issue.