Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is now planning to hit streets with a demand to reconstitute the Election Commission with impartial commissioners ahead of the next parliamentary elections.
The party has taken a decision to make a consensus about reconstitution of the EC through discussion with the opposition political parties, organisations and eminent citizens of the country, the party insiders said.
BNP sources said party’s acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, who has been staying in London for long in political asylum, has given instructions to the party’s senior leaders to make a consensus with other opposition political parties to be vocal ahead of reconstitution for an ‘impartial’ Election Commission and to hit the streets unitedly over the issue.
If the next Election Commission is not reconstituted as per their desire, the opposition party will wage strong movement against the incumbent government, the sources added.
“We will surely wage a movement for an impartial Election Commission. We want at first holding the next parliamentary elections under and a non-party, neutral election-time government,” BNP Vice-chairman Mohammad Shahjahan said. The party wants to forge unity with any political party of the country whatever is their ideology, he said.
“I think there is no alternative to go for movement against the incumbent government to realize the demands,” Shahjahan added.
BNP sources said the party high command already has assigned some leaders of the BNP to contact with other opposition political parties including Islamists organizations and leftist organizations to make a consensus about reconstitution of the EC as well as the form of the 12th general election of the country.
“We have planned to create political consensus. We want even the Awami League to join the consensus. If the ruling party doesn’t respond to our call then we will build a national unity with all other political parties and place our demands,” BNP joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal said.
He said the party will send letters to all the political parties of the country soon to make consensus and then disclose their demands before country’s people through holding press conference.
BNP sources said the party high command has also planned to strengthen relationship with the components of the 20-party alliance particularly with the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and components of the Jatiya Oikya Front.
“However, the party didn’t take any decision yet about the reconstitution of the Election Commission. So, I can’t say about it elaborately at this moment,” Iqbal Hassan Mahmud Tuku said.
BNP insiders said the party soon will hold high level meeting to make strategy about their courses of action ahead of the reconstitution of the election commission.
The current Election Commission headed by KM Nurul Huda was sworn in on February 15, 2017 for a term of 5 years. As such, their term will expire in February next year.
As per the constitutional provision, the President will finalise chief commissioner and four commissioners to reconstitute the Election Commission.
President Md Abdul Hamid on February 6, 2017 had appointed former secretary KM Nurul Huda the chief election commissioner. And Rafiqul Islam, Mahbub Talukder, Kabita Khanam and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury were made election commissioners.
The president picked the five names from a list of ten recommended by the search committee for reconstituting the election commission for five years term.
At a press conference on November 18, 2016, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia had placed a set of proposals to reconstitute and empower the Election Commission (EC) ahead of the next general election.
Placing a thirteen-point proposal for restructuring the EC, she demanded formation of a ‘search committee’ consisting of five members by the President and suggested making a retired chief justice convener of the committee.
Khaleda Zia said a former head of any constitutional body or a non-partisan retired secretary or an eminent citizen should be eligible for the post. And four persons, including a woman, can be appointed election commissioners, she added.
She said the President will send the recommended names received from political parties to the search committee. It will choose two persons for the CEC post while eight persons for commissioners.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a virtual programme on Thursday said the party has no other option but to put up a strong resistance against the current government. “The youth must wake up and lead the movement for bringing a change in power.”