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26 May, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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BNP welcomes EC roadmap but stresses poll-time neutral govt

RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD
BNP welcomes EC roadmap but stresses poll-time neutral govt

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), arch rival of the ruling Awami League (AL), considers the seven-point roadmap drawn up by the Election Commission (EC) for the next general elections to be a positive step. Senior party leaders, however, said no roadmap would work if the poll was not held under an election-time supportive government. Talking to The Independent on the EC’s roadmap, the BNP suggested the EC should first earn the people’s confidence by dint of its work and activities.
The BNP’s decision on whether to take part in the EC’s planned dialogue with political parties would be taken after discussions in an appropriate party forum, the leaders said.
They made this observation a day after the EC unveiled its seven-point roadmap, which included the creation of a level playing field by recovering illegal arms and curbing muscle power.
The other aspects are the modernisation and easing of the election process, delimitation of parliamentary constituencies, upgrade of voter lists, creation of a congenial atmosphere for voters and political parties, and capacity building.
The EC is set to hold talks with political parties from the middle of July on the implementation of it plan.
“I think there are many things to do under the EC’s seven-point roadmap,” said BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain.
He, however, maintained the election must be held under a neutral government. “If the election is held under a partisan government, the roadmap would not serve any purpose,” he observed.
The BNP leader said since elections were conducted by the administration, a partisan government would be in a position to manipulate the poll. “The EC has to keep in mind that many things can be done on paper for a free and fair poll, but their implementation will not be possible without an election-time neutral government,” he said.
He said the decision on whether the BNP would join the EC’s proposed dialogue with political parties would be taken at a party forum.
Vice-chairman Maj. (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed said he considered the EC’s roadmap to be a positive one. “The roadmap is apparently a positive one…but it would be of no value, if there is no election-time supportive government,” he said.
He said it was difficult to gauge the extent of the EC’s neutrality because, he alleged, the AL had proposed the names of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners. “Their (AL’s) intention is bad, their objective is bad. Their habit is to manipulate the elections,” he said. The former minister said if there was no election-time supportive government the roadmap would
“They (AL) will manipulate the election by using the administration since the government controls the administration,” he said.
“Holding a free and fair election will depend on the type of election-time government. The present EC cannot control the present government,” he added. BNP organising secretary Shama Obaid described the EC’s roadmap as a theory on paper. “The EC is loyal to the government. It does not matter whether it presents a seven-point or 17-point roadmap,” she said.

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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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