POST TIME: 2 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
demand for poll-time neutral govt
3 alliances likely to hit the streets jointly

3 alliances likely to 
hit the streets jointly

Three political alliances of the country are likely to announce a simultaneous programme soon in a bid to force the Sheikh Hasina government to hold the next general elections under a neutral election-time government after dissolving the current Parliament. The three alliances are the BNP-led 20-Party Alliance, the Left Democratic Alliance (LDA), a combine of eight Leftist political parties, and Jukto Front, a combine of four political parties—Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik

Dal (JSD-Rob), Nagorik Oikya and Krishak, Sramik Janata League (KSJL). The next parliamentary elections will be held in late December, disclosed sources in the Election Commission (EC). The last parliamentary elections, held on January 5, 2014, were boycotted by the major Opposition political party, the BNP, and some other political parties. The BNP and its key ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami, had tried to foil the one-sided elections and carried out a three-month-long countrywide agitation programme. Over 100 people were killed prior to the 5 January, 2014, elections, with some 20 people killed on Election Day alone.

According to the leaders of the three alliances, they will take to the streets with the same set of demands, including holding the next polls under a neutral election-time government, dissolving the current Parliament, reconstituting the EC and deploying the Army with magistracy power during the election hours.

BNP standing committee member Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said all the political alliances will hopefully chart out a simultaneous political course of action soon for holding

free, fair and inclusive elections under a neutral administration.

“The process to form national unity is on… All the political alliances and parties outside the ruling party and its partners want the next general elections to be held in a free and fair manner after creating a level playing field. As part of the initiative, the first simultaneous programme is in the offing very soon,” he said.

The former minister further said there was a possibility of these come together on a single platform over the issue of holding the elections under a neutral government. He, however, added that constitution of such a single platform by the alliances and their partners would depend on the prevailing atmosphere and situation.

“We are working for national unity at the directives of our chairperson, Khaleda Zia. We are hopeful about the formation of a national unity and of establishing a pro-people government through a free, fair and acceptable election,” he added.

Nagorik Oikya convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna also said there was a possibility of a simultaneous programme from all the alliances and parties outside the ruling alliance to force the government to hold inclusive elections under a neutral administration after dissolving the Parliament and deploying the Army with magistracy power.

All the alliances and parties have agreed on these issues. But the method of the programme to realise these demands is yet to be determined, he said.

“Negotiations are going on among us. But there is not much development for disclosing these,” he added.

JSD (Rab) general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan said the possibility of forging a national unity with the major Opposition alliances on the issue of holding the next polls under a neutral government does exist. He, however, clarified that they are yet to hold any formal meeting with the three major alliances—the BNP-led 20-Party Alliance, the CPB-led eight-party Left-leaning alliance and Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury-led Jukta Front and Dr Kamal Hossain-led National Unity Process.

Malek, one of the four members of the committee formed to work out the next course of action, said national unity is required to compel the government to hold the next polls in a free, fair and inclusive manner. “We have taken a decision to forge a national unity and we are working on it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the central leaders of the ruling Awami League say they are not worried about such a movement or programmes, but will remain alert about their moves as many anti-state elements are now engaged in hatching conspiracies against the government in a bid to topple it.

Party insiders said no anti-government movement will be allowed ahead of the general elections. The government would come down in a manner harder than during the previous time as it does not want any anarchic situation in the country ahead of the general polls. Even non-political movements will not be allowed ahead of the polls, they added.

However, talking on the issue, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said the next general elections would be free and fair, and so, no movement would be needed to force the government to do so.

Calling upon all political parties to make preparations to participate in the next polls, Quader—who is also the road transport and bridges minister—said the next general elections will be held as per the constitutional guidelines.

Issuing a note of warning, the AL general secretary said the AL-led government is not worried about their move. If they try to create anarchic conditions under the pretext of holding an agitation for realising their illogical demands, the government will take appropriate measures for the sake of the people’s welfare.

Terming their demands “illogical”, AL joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the next polls will be held in line with the constitutional provisions. There is no chance to meet their illogical demands ahead of the polls, he iterated. “But if they try to create any trouble, our law enforcers will take care of them,” he warned.