Awami League (AL) General Secretary Obaidul Quader Friday said that they wouldn’t mind if the Election Commission (EC) defers the city corporation elections to a later date.
“The Awami League or the government has no objection, as Dhaka city polls have coincided with Saraswati Puja. It is the jurisdiction of the Election Commission,” he said.Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, was addressing a press conference at AL President Sheikh Hasina’s political office in Dhanmondi in the capital.
Some Dhaka University students have been staging protests on the campus for the past few days demanding the EC reschedule the voting which is slated to be held on January 30.
On Tuesday, a High Court bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam rejected a writ petition seeking deferral of the elections by a week.
Following the court order, the EC said the demand for deferment of city polls is illogical and that there is no chance to reschedule the elections.
Quader hoped that the EC would come up with an acceptable solution over Dhaka city polls showing respect for religious sentiment. He was strongly critical of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, saying secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir is spreading misleading information over the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
“He (Fakhrul) himself was elected in his constituency in the last general election where electronic voting machines were used. A BNP candidate also won a municipality election in Bogura,” he said.Replying to a question, the AL general secretary said BNP leaders are making derogatory remarks on Prime Minister and AL President Sheikh Hasina and other AL leaders, but AL did not file any case against them.
“They won’t enjoy such freedom in any part of the world,” he said.
Responding to a question over Gono Forum chief Kamal Hossain's remarks on the city polls, Quader said the EC has announced the election schedule, not the government.
"The government did not do anything wrong in this regard and that’s the reason why the remarks of Kamal were not fair at all," he said.
The minister urged the AL leaders who are running for the city elections as councilor candidates without the party’s consent to withdraw their candidacy.
AL joint general secretaries Mahbubul Alam Hanif and AFM Bahauddin Nasim, organising secretaries Ahmad Hossain, BM Mojammel Haque, Mirza Azam, SM Kamal Hossain, Afzal Husain and Shakhwat Hossain Shafiq, cultural affairs secretary Ashim Kumar Ukil, publicity and publication secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap, agriculture and cooperatives affairs secretary Faridunnahar Laily, office secretary Biplab Barua, science and technology affairs secretary Abdus Sabur, health affairs secretary Rokeya Sultana and women affairs secretary Meher Afroz Chumki, among others, was present at the event.