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18 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 December, 2018 11:20:38 PM

Oikyafront pledges balance in power of president, PM

Alliance unveils election manifesto
Oikyafront pledges balance in power of president, PM

The opposition alliance Jatiya Oikyafront, if voted to power, would change the age limit for government job seekers and create part-time job opportunity for educated old people with a minimum allowance. “There will be no age limit to join government services except those of police and defence forces,” said the Oikyafront in its election manifesto ahead of the 11th parliamentary polls slated for December 30.

The Oikyafront, comprising five political parties, also pledged to work out a balance of power between the President and the Prime Minister and limit a prime minister’s tenure to a maximum of two terms. The alliance will form a truth and reconciliation commission comprising eminent academics, social workers and lawyers to investigate and resolve the enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and false cases filed in the last 10 years. The cases would be resolved through individual pardoning and compensation, said the poll manifesto.

The Jatiya Oikyafront disclosed its much-talked about poll manifesto at a function at Hotel Purbani International, a day before the ruling Awami League set to announce its manifesto at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon today.

BNP, the arch rival of the ruling Awami League, will also announce its party manifesto at a press conference at Hotel Lakeshore this morning (Tuesday).

Nagorik Oikya convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna read out the manifesto in the presence of the top leaders of the Oikyafront including Ganoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain and BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

The Oikyafront in its 35-point pledges also promised to end politics of vengeance, stop killing and enforced disappearances, ensure safety and security of the people,

create job opportunity, improve education, health and lifestyle and cancel the Digital Security Act to turn Bangladesh into a welfare oriented country.

The alliance also pledged the formation of a minority ministry, creation of bicameral legislature, restoration of election-time non-partisan government system, the holding of trial of corrupt people after investigation, amending Article 70 of the Constitution which doesn’t floor-crossing for lawmakers, reducing internet access costs for cell phone users by half, introducing city governments and providing unemployment allowances to educated youth above 30.

According to the manifesto, there would be no quota except for backward communities and physically challenged people, all the vacant posts in government services will be filled up in the next three years, PEC and JSC exams will be cancelled and a single admission test will be introduced for admission to all public universities.

The Oikyafront also promised to continue the trial of war criminals, form a national committee to examine the feasibility of establishing provincial governments in the country and reduce women reserved seats by 10 percent by making mandatory to nominate 20 percent of women by political parties to participate in the polls directly.

Speaking at the function, Dr Kamal Hossain strongly criticized the government for arresting leaders and activists of the opposition parties everyday despite the prime minister’s assurance of not arresting opposition activists after the announcement of the poll schedule.

He said the government should be given the  “Pulitzer award” as it managed to pass five years after holding what he said was a lopsided election in 2014 with promises to hold the next polls immediately.

The Oikyafront leader said the time had come to get united to resist and realize the ownership of the country by the people.

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan, Bangabir Kader Siddiqui, Ganoforum leaders Subrata Chowdhury, Mostafa Mohsin Montu, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and Reza Kibria, among others, were present on the occasion.

In the manifesto, the Oikyafront also promised tougher action against the plunderers in the banking sector and police officials who assisted in lodging false cases, providing full freedom to the Election Commission, strengthening local government and showing zero tolerance in respective of sexual harassment in work place or educational institutions.

The Oikyafront emphasises the promises which they want to implement in five year tenure.

The Oikyafront also promised mass reforms in the health sector, including bringing down the cost of medical treatment, upgrading 31 bed Upazila health complex to 50 bed hospitals, mandatory 1yr deployment of intern doctors in rural areas, reducing cost of medicine, medical tests, establishment of Ombudsman for discipline in the health sector and providing health cards to all citizens.

The opposition alliance, in its manifesto, said that relationship with India will be strengthened further on the basis of equality. Besides, Bangladesh will join the projects beneficial for Bangladesh under the One Belt, One Road initiative by China, the manifesto further revealed under the party’s foreign policy plans. Issues of Teesta and other common river water sharing and Rohingya issue will be resolved through bilateral discussion at the earliest, the manifesto added. Steps will be taken to strengthen SAARC and other regional groups, said the manifesto.

The Oikyafront also promised to complete end food adulteration within one years of assuming power and take measures to control tobacco.

The alliance also promised to introduce permanent High Court Bench at divisional headquarters and limit the yearly vacation of higher courts by six weeks.

Besides, it also promised taking measures to protect the interests of the farmers, workers, industries, and help aged people travel on half fare, visiting recreation centres, parks and museums free of cost and ensure freedom of the press.  

The Oikyafront also pledged that it would not stop the ongoing development works and form a committee to examine the projects taken up in haste in the last two years.

It will form a national security council under the political leadership and purchase necessary arms and equipment on a priority basis

The Oikyafront further pledged to determine minimum wage of garments workers by 12,000, ensure voting rights of expatriates Bangladeshis, stop repression in custody and arresting anyone by plain clothed police and give compensation to those will be accused in false cases.  

The alliance pledged to include all the national heroes of the War of Liberation in the syllabuses of schools, colleges and carryout research on them at the university level and ensure that there will not be one-party rule in the country further.  The Oikyafront will prepare a list of martyrs of the country’s war of liberation by the members of the armed forces if comes to power Speaking at the function, Mirza Alamgir termed the manifesto historic one saying that all the fundamental demands of the people have been accommodated in it.

All the hopes and aspirations have been accommodated in the manifesto. I hope that it would be treated as a revolutionary in the recent times, he said.

The BNP leader further said the people have risen up defying all the adverse conditions and hoped that they would defeat those who want to destroy the spirit of the War of Liberation and rights of the people.

Kamal said there was a possibility of holding a participatory election after about one decade but the partial roles of the government and the EC raised question about whether it would be held in a free, fair and acceptable manner.

He said, “Considering the prevailing situation, we also want to echo the students who had launched movement for safe road saying that the state needs reform.”

He called upon the people to go to the polling centers and cast their votes and said December 30 would be a day of mass upsurge.

Earlier, a six-member sub-committee, comprising Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Md Mahfuzullah, AOM Shafiqullah, Dr Zahedur Rahman, Shahiduddin Mahmud Swapan, and Iqbal Siddiqui, prepared the manifesto accommodating proposals submitted by the respective parties.

Jatiya Oikyafront was formed on October 13 comprising BNP, Ganoforum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rab) and Nagorik Oikya with a seven-point charter of demands. Later, Bangabir Kader Siddiqui-led Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Janata League joined the opposition platform.

A total of 20 political parties in the folds of Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-Party Alliance fielded common candidates in all the 300 constituencies to contest the 11th parliamentary poll with the symbol sheaf of paddy.




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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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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.

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