Bangladesh Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led political alliances on Monday iterated their call for the military-backed interim government of Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed to hold elections to the ninth Jatiya Sangsad (New Age) and transfer power to an elected government as early as possible.
‘We call upon the caretaker government to hold a fair election at the earliest and not to delay the process on one excuse or the other,’ the BNP secretary general, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, said, on behalf of the BNP-led alliance, at a news briefing, in reaction to Fakhruddin’s maiden address to the nation on Sunday.<!–more–>
The AL general secretary and coordinator of the AL-led alliance, Abdul Jalil, made a similar call at a separate news briefing. ‘The aspiration of the whole nation at the moment is for the present caretaker government to hold a free and fair election, and hand over power to an elected government at the earliest.’
Mannan Bhuiyan termed the issued touched upon by Fakhruddin in his speech ‘relevant but nothing new. ‘The nation had expected a definitive statement on the schedule for the election; nonetheless, we thank him for his pledge that the election would be held at the shortest possible time.’
He demanded expeditious handover of power to an elected government and said implementation of long-term strategies in people’s interest was the job for an elected government.
The BNP-led alliance asked the chief adviser to specify the terms for ‘the participation of different political parties in the election’, as the election, scheduled to take place on January 22, was cancelled to ensure participation of all political parties.
He should make it clear whether he meant ‘all parties’ when he said ‘different parties’, Mannan Bhuiyan said.
The alliance also observed that the chief adviser’s assertion of ‘keeping the country free from the evil clutches of religion-based and social division and maintaining communal harmony’ would give rise to confusion at home and abroad.
‘Communal harmony in Bangladesh is praised across the world and it is unprecedented. There is no evil division on the basis of religion in Bangladesh,’ Mannan Bhuiyan said.
The chief adviser promised protection of innocent people from harassment but there have been a number of unnatural deaths, as reported in the newspaper, he said. ‘It is unfortunate.’
Mannan Bhuiyan blasted the AL-led alliance for finding similarities between the chief adviser’s promises and their demands.
‘Those who were rejected by the people in the previous election, whose brutality and repressive attitude stripped the people of their voting rights, have nothing to be happy about the chief adviser’s speech,’ he said. ‘They can, of course, be happy for the delay in holding the election, as it has deferred their defeat.’
The next election will add a new chapter to the history of democracy in Bangladesh if the caretaker government sincerely takes steps to complete the process as soon as possible, Jalil told journalists after a meeting of the top leaders of the alliance at the Dhanmondi office of the Awami League.
He hailed the chief’s advisers address to the nation, which, he said, justified the demands of the alliance for reconstitution of the Election Commission, improvement of law and order, de-politicisation of the administration, introduction of transparent ballot boxes and voter identity card, and preparation of a flawless electoral roll before holding the elections.
He hoped that the interim government would take strong measures against corruption and violence, and also ensure arrest and trial of the killers of AL leaders Shah AMS Kibria and Ahsanullah Master after thorough investigation.
He also demanded investigation of the ‘killing of 26,000 AL leaders and activists during the five-year rule of the BNP-Jamaat alliance’.
The AL-led alliance said the joint forces should carry out their drives against criminals possessing illegal arms on the basis of a fresh list, instead of the one prepared by the BNP-Jamaat government.
The secretaries general of the components of the BNP-led alliance, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid of Jamaat-e-Islami, Ahmad Abdul Qader of Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, Shamim al Mamun of the Bangladesh Jatiya Party and Abdul Latif Nezami of Islami Oikya Jote, were present at the briefing at the BNP chairperson’s Banani office.
Chaired by AL presidium member Amir Hussain Amu, the meeting of the AL-led alliance was attended by the party’s presidium members Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed and Suranjit Sengupta, JSD president Hasanul Haq Inu, Workers Party general secretary Bimal Biswas and Gana Azadi League president Abdus Samad.
Source: News from Bangladesh.