Activities over polls begin despite political impasse | 2018-09-06

Activities over polls begin despite political impasse

Shawkat Ali Khan

6 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Election-oriented activities have begun in the country though the political impasse continues to deepen between the ruling Awami League and BNP over the polls-time government.

BNP, which remains outside parliament due to the boycott of the last general election, plans to submit a formula to the president on the election-time administration, which will oversee the next polls likely to be held in December this year.

In the formula, BNP will propose prime minister’s departure from the office for three months.

Asked about the proposal, AL presidium member Faruk Khan said BNP has been making illegal demands since its inception.

“BNP, which was founded illegally, makes such unlawful demands. People do not take their proposal seriously,” he told the daily sun.

Apart from the major political parties, some small parties have forged a political alliance to contest the polls together to challenge the ruling party in the 11th parliamentary elections.

The recently formed Jukta Front led by former Bikalpadhara Bangladesh president AQM Badrudozza Chowdhury and Gono Forum chairman Dr Kamal Hossain added a new feature to the country’s politics.

Appreciating the move, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said “the country has only two political parties.”

“One is Awami League and another one is anti-Awami League. The anti-Awami Leaguers must have a place. I welcome the unity,” she said.

Lauding the alliance, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Khaleda Zia had called for forging such unity much earlier.

 “We’re pleased as it [the new alliance] has made a significant progress,” he said.

Badrudozza Chowdhury on Tuesday thanked the premier for her appreciation.

Ahead of polls, the ruling camp also took a move to expand its political alliance.

AL general secretary Obaidul Quader recently contacted leaders of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal and Krishak Sramik Janata League. 

As the election is getting nearer, the BNP-led coalition has been trying to create pressure on the ruling camp to arrange the polls under a non-party administration. 

Opposing the BNP led alliance’s demand, Jatiya Party, which is now the main opposition in parliament, has been asking the government to arrange the polls in line with the constitution.

The constitution provides that the prime minister of an elected government will hand over power to the successive elected government.

“The 11th parliamentary polls should be held in line with the constitution,” JP chairman Hussein Muhammad Ershad said while addressing a programme recently.

Apart from the main opposition, Workers Party of Bangladesh, factions of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and Samyabadi Dal, have been in favour of the polls as per the constitution.

The political impasse continues to deepen with BNP leaders threatening that they will foil the election if it is held with the party chief Khaleda Zia in jail.

It asked the government to free her before the polls and hold talks to reach a consensus on holding credible polls.

They say they will no way allow AL this time to arrange a one-sided poll like the last January 5, 2014 polls.

Insiders in BNP say though the party is determined not to contest the polls without Khaleda Zia, it has completed the preparations for the polls.

Even, when BNP secretary general met Khaleda Zia in jail after the Eid, she instructed him for taking preparation for the polls.

Turning a deaf ear to such threats, AL said it would not sit with the BNP for talks.

Over BNP’s demand for Khaleda Zia’s release, the AL president said she should face the court or seek Presidential clemency for immediate release.

Besides facing the opposition in political field, the ruling camp already started its poll campaigns from January 30 this year from Sylhet.

As part of its preparation, the party will ask the grassroots to nominate candidates in each constituency by September.

AL general secretary already said the party is ready to share some 70 seats for its partners.

“If the Bangladesh Nationalist Party refrains from contesting the polls, Jatiya Party will contest the polls alone and field candidates in 300 seats. If they (BNP) join the polls, the Jatiya Party will remain in the alliance,” he said.

“Such equation is difficult in politics of votes. Such equation may change with time and may add new features,” he added.

The Election Commission is likely to announce the poll schedule in late October.