PM to political parties: Let’s all take part in next parliamentary polls
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the government wants the participation of all political parties in the next parliamentary election, but it’s up to a political party to join it or not. “It is the decision of any political party whether to participate in the election or not. We can’t impose anything there…..Yes, we definitely want all parties to join it,” she said. The premier said this while replying to a question at a press conference arranged at her official residence Ganobhaban on the outcome of her recent official visit to the UK and the USA. Read: Election Commission independent, can hold fair polls: PM tells VOA Hasina said the Awami League, along with its allies and all others, made all the improvements and reforms in the country’s electoral system. “Even that if anyone doesn’t join, what can we do?” she said. “Yes, we want all parties to join the election and vie in the polls. Awami League will never come power, rigging votes at least and didn’t do (in the past) also,” she said. Pointing at BNP, she said they blamed the government when they lost the national election, giving nomination to 700 aspirants in 300 constituencies in 2018. “Do the people vote for those who killed people through arson violence? They (the people) never can do,” said Hasina, also the president of Awami League. Read: PM in NY: Election will be fair, BNP has no reason to worry She said Awami League came to power time and again working for the people, winning their hearts and cashing in their votes. AL never came out from the pocket of any military dictator. “AL always came to power through votes and elections,” she added. The AL chief said her party’s triennial council will be held in December next and the party started taking preparation for the 12th parliamentary elections to be held late 2023 or early 2024. She said AL is now perhaps the only party in the country that abides by its charter always.
CEC: Army may be called out for next parliamentary polls
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Thursday said that the upcoming national elections may require the deployment of the army along with other forces. He said this in a dialogue with the Bangladesh Jatiya Party at the conference room of EC building. "We will try to install CC cameras in every polling station according to our capacity in the National Assembly elections. I would like your help so that I can control the muscle power," he said He added that the EC can’t do it alone. The participation of district administration, police, BGB, district magistrate and even the army may be necessary. Also read: CEC says sorry for his rifle for sword remarks Saying 'The Electoral Act has given the commission quite a bit of power,' Habibul also pointed out that they can use that power to reduce potential violence or use of muscle power. Regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), the CEC said, "I am aware of the skepticism and lack of confidence (about it). We have not blindly taken any decision on EVM. But we are not ruling out that there are some good or bad sides to it. EC is trying to test how objective that potential is." Also read: EC in the soup as major parties differ: CEC Calling upon all the parties to participate in the election, he said balloting will be held on time as it is the responsibility according to the constitution. "If there is no party, we cannot force it. But again and again we expect your participation," he said. The CEC also said that your (parties') proposals are reasonable. That's why you have to be strong and active. “We will be stronger.” He said the national election is not a joke as the government will be formed through the election of the national parliament and the highest administrative organization of the state will be the cabinet. "So we think that the election is not a matter of negligence, the election should be representative of the people and the government should be formed with the support of the people. This requires a free, impartial election, where voters can cast their ballots unhindered," he said. The 12-member Bangladesh Jatiya Party team was led by its chairman Professor MA Mukit. Four election commissioners, EC secretary and senior officials of the organization were also present.
BNP won’t even join talks on polls until AL quits power: Fakhrul
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday said their party even will not join any talks on the next parliamentary polls until the Awami League government quits power. “I think there’ll be no talks until the Awami League government resigns,” he told a press conference at BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office. The BNP leader came up with the remarks as journalists drew his attention to a reported decision of the Awami League Central Working Committee to make all-out efforts to bring BNP to the next parliamentary election. Also read:Fakhrul demands withdrawal of soybean oil price hike Fakhrul renewed their party’s stance that BNP will not join the next polls under the current government. “Our position on the next polls is clear. There’s no question of holding an election if the Awami League regime does not resign and power is handed over to a completely neutral government. We won’t go to the polls, if Sheikh Hasina remains in power,” he viewed. Fakhrul said the government must meet two conditions to bring BNP to the next polls. "The first condition is that they (govt) must resign and then they must hand over power to a neutral non-partisan government. He said a non-party neutral government will reconstitute the Election Commission for conducting the polls based on public opinions and thus a government and parliament will be formed representing the country's people. Sought his comment on Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader’s comment that the opposition parties would be given a scope to hold meetings and rallies, Fakhrul said Awami League is a party of ‘frauds’. "They (AL leaders) are used to say like that…but they’ll do whatever they need to do. This is the character of Awami League that they don’t keep their words. They have been deceiving people from the beginning since the country’s independence,” he said. The BNP leader said the ruling party leaders talk about democracy like gentlemen, but they do not allow even to hold a milad and doa mahfil and Eid reunion let alone a meeting and a rally. “They attack an Eid reunion and A milad mahfil. What can you expect from them? “ It’s an attack on BNP He strongly condemned and protested the attack on the house of party standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain in Daudkandi on Saturday, and said the government has started resorting to terrorism again to hang onto power. Fakhrul said their standing committee’s senior member Khandaker Mosharraf went to his residence in Daukandi on Saturday to exchange Eid greetings with the local leaders and workers. As he came out of his residence to join an invitation at Titas, the BNP leader alleged that Awami League ‘cadres’ attacked the house and Mosharraf’s companions with sticks, brickbats and batons. “We think it’s a physical attack on Dr Mosharraf. The attack was so intense that the party workers took Mosharraf to the house and closed the gate. Even then, the Awami cadres hurled brick chips and stones like rain towards the house”, Fakhrul said. Also read:Raise your voice to restore lost rights: Fakhrul to workers Later, he said police brought the situation under control and helped Mosharraf to come out of his house. “He (Mosharraf) is the senior leader of our standing committee. We consider the attack on him as an attack on the standing committee as well as on our party. We can't take it lightly. This attack has proved that there is no change in their character. Rather, they have resorted to extreme terrorism with fresh vigour to eliminate and suppress BNP and the opposition,” the BNP leader observed. He demanded the government arrest those involved in the attack on Moshharf’s house and bring them to justice. Fakhrul also slammed the government for hiking the price of soybean oil further for what he said protecting the interests of corrupt ruling party business syndicates.
BNP grassroots leaders want Dhaka leaders to get ready for movement
A group of BNP grassroots leaders on Thursday urged the party policymakers to prepare the party’s all units in Dhaka for waging a movement for forcing the government to quit and hold the 12th parliamentary polls under a neutral administration. In a closed-door meeting, they also said BNP will not get benefits by forming an electoral alliance with the ‘one-man-show’ parties. The BNP grassroots leaders, however, said the party should make efforts to bring all the opposition parties under a single platform to launch a simultaneous movement, led by BNP, with a demand for the restoration of an election-time neutral government, a party leader, who was present at the meeting, told UNB. He said most of the leaders also urged the party high-command to take a tough stance on not joining any election under the current government and intensify diplomatic efforts to get the international community’s support in favour of their demand for a polls-time neutral government. BNP top leaders sat with its executive committee members under Khulna, Rajshahi and Barishal divisions today (Thursday), wrapping up their planned six series of meetings with the central and grassroots leaders. Read: BNP policymakers in another closed-door meeting Party sources said 86 leaders participated in the meeting and 65 of them gave their opinions about how BNP should get ready for an anti-government movement and the next general election. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Selima Rahman and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku were present at the meeting. Party acting chairman Tarique Rahman virtually joined it from London. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mirza Fakhrul said in their six meetings in two phases around 300 central and grassroots leaders talked about their organisational issues and how to ‘restore’ democracy in the country free Khaleda Zia from jail, and get rid of the current ‘authoritarian’ government. He said they took note of the speeches of all the leaders and those will be discussed in the meeting of their standing committee to work out the next course of action. “We’ll let you know later about what programmes are taken in our meeting." As part of their second round of series meetings, the BNP top leaders sat with the party’s executive committee members under Dhaka and Faridpur organisational divisions on Tuesday and with the leaders under Chattogram, Cumilla, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rangpur divisions on Wednesday. Read: BNP plans series of party central leaders’ meetings Earlier, the BNP policymakers had three closed-door meetings with party vice-chairmen, advisory council members, joint secretaries general, organising secretaries, assistant organising secretaries and secretaries and the top leaders of the party’s different associate bodies last week. A total of 491 party leaders joined the six meetings. The meetings were held as part of the party’s planned series of meetings with BNP rank and file to know their views about the party’s next course of action ahead of the next general election. BNP formed a 502-member national executive committee through its sixth national council on March 19, 2016. BNP held its last executive committee meeting at Le Meridian Hotel on February 3, 2018, just four days before Khaleda was sent to jail in a graft case.