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24 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Decision on poll-time cabinet size Oct 26

STAFF REPORTER
Decision on poll-time cabinet size Oct 26

Several decisions, including the size of the election-time cabinet, will be taken at a meeting of the ruling party on October 26. The Awami League (AL) central working committee and its advisory and parliamentary committee will hold a meeting on October 26 and the decisions will be taken at that meeting. AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, who is also the road transport and bridges minister, made the revelation at a press briefing in his secretariat office yesterday.

“The Awami League central working committee and its advisory and parliamentary committee will hold a meeting on October 26 at 6pm. Various important decisions, including the size of the election-period cabinet, will be taken on that day,” said Quader. He said there was little possibility of the present cabinet being downsized as the prime minister in her speech on Monday had ruled out any such move.

When asked about the induction of cabinet members from the opposition, the minister said: “If the current size of the cabinet remains the same, two or more ministers can be added from the opposition in the poll-time cabinet. Its duties will be limited. It’ll only do routine work. There’ll be no ECNEC meeting, no bills will be passed, and no project will be inaugurated.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would decide on the persons to be inducted from the opposition into the election-time government, he added.

Quader denied that new cabinet members would be added from the Tarikat Federation or Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), saying the suggestion was untrue. Responding to

another query on whether there would be any cabinet meeting, the minister said cabinet meetings could be held in the run-up to the next election if the prime minister wished so. But no agenda would be implemented by the election-time government, he added.

According to Quader, elections are held in other democratic countries under the existing government and the practice would be followed in Bangladesh.

He said the national polls were held under different circumstances in 2014 as the BNP did not participate in it. So, the prime minister had downsized the cabinet at that time.

“But the BNP has announced that it will take part in the next election. So, there is no need to downsize the cabinet this time,” he added.

He also said that the announcement of the party manifesto for the upcoming general election would be decided at the meeting to be held on October 26.

He further said the Election Commission (EC) was expected to declare the poll schedule by the first week of November. It would work to create a level playing field and conduct the poll in a free, fair and credible manner.  

“The EC will decide who will be able to contest the election,” said the AL leader.

Regarding Barrister Mainul Hosein’s arrest, Quader clarified the step had been taken because he abused a female journalist and not for his political identity.

“It was necessary to arrest him as several cases had been filed against him. There is no political motive behind his arrest. It’s totally an individual matter and not related to the Oikya Front,” he added.

When asked whether the BNP would join the election, the AL general secretary said there would be a level playing field during the election and so there was no need to invite the BNP individually.

“The BNP has already decided to take part in the next national polls and there is international pressure to invite that party to join the election. The next poll will be held in time,” he added.

Quader ruled out any possibility of the Digital Security Act amendment before the next general election.

“We’ll keep it under observation to check if there is any misuse of the Act. If one doesn’t commit any crime, why would he/she be too worried about it?” he wondered.

“A local AL leader filed a case against a woman of Jhenaigati upazila in Sherpur under the Act for distorting my photo on Facebook. When I heard about the matter, I asked the police to discharge her,” he said.

He also said that they were keeping a close watch on the current political situation. Any further extension of the size of the AL-led Grand Alliance depends on the decisions of other political alliances, he added.

When asked about the completion of the mega projects taken during the government’s current tenure, Quader said: “The finishing lines of the Padma Bridge and Metro Rail projects are now clearly visible.”

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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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