Monday, 4 July, 2022

No sign of end to AL-BNP row over next nat’l polls

The two parties stick to their guns

The ruling Awami League and the major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) stick to their respective stance over next national election, thus showing no sign of an end to the political row between the two parties.

Awami League has showed its interest to hold talks with all the political parties to make the next election a participatory one while BNP has remained rigid on its stance, demanding the next election be held under a neutral administration.

As per a constitutional provision, the next parliamentary elections of the country will be held under an election-time government led by Sheikh Hasina.

Although BNP has remained rigid on its stance not to participate in the next election under Sheikh Hasina-led government, Awami League leaders hope that BNP, finally, will join the polls.

The BNP has been demanding that the next national polls be held under a neutral government. The party is making efforts to form a greater alliance to press for their demand.

They (BNP) are holding series of meetings with different political parties to form a separate political platform to expedite anti-government movement to press for their demand.

As part of the initiative, BNP on Tuesday held a meeting with Nagarik Oikya to form an all-party alliance to press for their one-point demand – no election under the current AL-led government.

About the BNP’s stance, Awami League presidium member Mosharraf Hossain on Tuesday said BNP must join the next polls as per the Constitution.

“Next election will be free, fair and credible under the Election Commission. The EC is independent and it will work freely,” he added.

Awami League has been making efforts to bring major opposition BNP in the next national polls, but the BNP is continuously boycotting all the local government polls.

At a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that all-out efforts will be made to bring BNP in the next parliamentary elections.

The AL president also said voting in all 300 parliamentary constituencies will be held with electronic voting machines (EVM).

But, BNP leaders termed use of EVMs a new plot of Awami League to rig voting.

BNP senior leader Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku alleged that AL wants use of EVMs in all 300 parliamentary seats in the next election as part of its fresh plot to rig voting digitally.

During the dialogue with the President over the EC reconstitution, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader urged BNP to join the talks. But BNP did not participate in the talks and refrained from submitting names to the Search Committee.

Even, the Search Committee, a body to suggest eligible names for the chief election commissioner and other four commissioners to the President, extended time so that BNP can submit names of their choice to the panel.

Recently, the EC took an initiative to hold talks over the next national election by inviting all political parties of the country, including the BNP.

To this effect, AL joint general secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif again said their party will support holding of dialogue with all political parties to make the next election a participatory one.

“BNP is talking much about the election as they are not getting any issue to wage anti-government movement. They want to heat up the political field centering the election,” he added.

BNP’s senior leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said their party will not participate in any dialogue with the current EC.

“There is no reason for BNP to take part in any talks with the EC. It matters little whether the EC holds dialogue or not,” he added.

They (BNP) not only boycotted the President’s dialogue on the EC reconstitution, but also expelled its leaders and activists those who joined local body polls under the EC.

BNP expelled Taimur Alam Khandakar as he contested the Narayanganj city corporation polls, Cumilla City Corporation mayoral candidate Monirul Huq Sakku for violating party discipline.

Awami League joint general secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim told the Daily Sun that BNP is not joining any talks as it fearing defeat in the next polls.

“As a political party, we want all the political parties to participate in the next national election. We are making all-out efforts to bring all the parties in the polls,” he said.