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12 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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AL wants BNP in poll race

Abu Jakir

The Awami League (AL) wants the next general election to be inclusive with the participation of all political parties, especially its arch-rival BNP, to make the polls acceptable to all, sources in the ruling party said. The AL apprehends that if the BNP boycotts the polls again, it would not be acceptable locally and internationally and this might lead to the fall of the Sheikh Hasina administration. And that’s why the ruling party will try to make BNP participate in the next polls at any cost, the sources said. But the BNP will have to join the polls under the incumbent Hasina government as per the Constitution, they insisted.

Talking to The Independent, several senior AL leaders said they honestly wanted the next polls to be held with the participation of all political parties, including the BNP. Otherwise, the party might lose power for what they described as “various kinds of pressure” on the Hasina government to make the next polls inclusive.

At a joint meeting of AL’s alliance partners held at the ruling party’s Dhanmondi political office, the allies had opined the same thing. The alliance leaders had said they did not want to see a repeat of the January 5, 2014 general election, which was boycotted by the Khaleda Zia-led BNP.

Workers' Party of Bangladesh president Rashed Khan Menon said the people would not accept a lopsided election in the country anymore. “We don’t want to see a January 5-like election in future. We want the 11th parliamentary polls to be held with the participation of all political parties,” said Menon, who is also the social welfare minister.

Meanwhile, rumours are doing the rounds in the country’s political arena that a negotiation is underway between the ruling AL and the BNP to make the next general election participatory. On Wednesday, BNP chief Khaleda Zia had a meeting with eight BNP leaders in jail.

AL presidium member Mohammad Nasim said the next national polls would be held in due time as per the constitutional guidelines and all the registered political parties of the country should join it.

“Each political party has the right to join any election in a parliamentary democracy, and I hope the BNP will join the polls eventually. We don’t want to score a goal in an empty playing field,” added Nasim, who is also the health minister.

Replying to a query over the rumoured negotiations between the two political rivals, the AL leader said the government would not compromise with the BNP. “The BNP will have to join the next polls as per the constitutional guidelines,” he added.

Last week, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader had said the AL’s main target was to make the next general election inclusive with the participation of all political parties. “We want the BNP’s participation in the next polls. It should consider joining the next polls without its chief Khaleda Zia, as BNP leaders have been claiming that their party has become stronger after their party chief’s conviction,” he had added.

AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said he was optimistic about the BNP’s participation in the next general election. “The BNP should join the next polls without Khaleda and Tarique, who have been proved as corrupt by the court,” he said. Speaking to The Independent on condition of anonymity, an AL organising secretary said: “The matter of Khaleda Zia is now under judicial purview. But that it would be wise for BNP leaders to make preparations for fighting the polls without her.”

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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