Senior party leader says BNP will not join any talks with the current government and any election under it
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said their party has no interest in witnessing the formation of the new Election Commission (EC) through a search committee under the Awami League government.
“We don’t have any interest in the EC formation as the electoral system has been completely ruined by the current government,” he said.
Talking to reporters at his residence in Dhaka, the BNP leader said the EC cannot do anything if there is no polls-time neutral government in place.
He also said they earlier boycotted and joined elections under the current government.
“We also gave our opinions on the formation of the EC through a search committee. But this government didn’t accept any of our proposals as they arranged everything in line with their plan to hold the election as per their desire. From our past experience, we now think there must be a caretaker government or a polls-time neutral government to hold a credible national election,” Fakhrul observed.
After the formation of a neutral government, he added, it will constitute an acceptable EC to hold the national election within 90 days.
He mentioned that their party was against holding the local body polls in a partisan manner from the very beginning.
“If the local body polls are held with the symbols of political parties, it creates a division in society with limited choice for people. That’s why we have decided not to join the local body polls with our symbol. But we won’t obstruct if anyone from our party participates in the polls independently,” he added.
The BNP leader said they welcomed new political party Gono Adhikar Parishad, formed under the leadership of Dr Reza Kibria and former VP of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) Nurul Haque Nur.
“We hope they will play a role in ousting the current fascistic regime and work for the restoration of democracy,” he added.
Fakhrul also said they believe people will come forward to bring a change in the government through a strong movement.
As his attention was drawn to the Awami League general secretary’s comment that people do not consider BNP as an alternative to Awami League in power or politics, he said: “Obaidul Quader should see his own face and that of his party in the mirror. He should also read the body language of people.”
The BNP leader said Awami League completely deceived people by “usurping” power through “snatching” of ballots the night before the voting day with the help of state machinery and law enforcers.
The government has been following a “mysterious” policy over the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, he added. “The government could still collect vaccines for one-eighth of the population, but we need vaccines for 80% of the population.”
“We asked them to prepare a roadmap and master plan for collection and distribution of vaccines, but the government did not do it for indulging in corruption,” he alleged.
Fakhrul said the government should intensify its efforts to collect the vaccines from the countries where the jabs are available.
No talks with govt
Meanwhile, senior BNP leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury on Tuesday also said their party will not join any talks with the current government and not even any election under it.
“BNP won’t participate in any election under this administration. Even, our party won’t go for any discussion with it because we had joined talks and elections before, and the people of Bangladesh know the outcomes,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion at the National Press Club in the capital, Khosru also expressed the same concern as Mirza Fakhrul. “Before the formation of a neutral government, there’s no scope for any discussion.”
The BNP Standing Committee member said there is no government now in Bangladesh as no political party is now running the country with people’s mandates.
He said the current regime even “snatched” people’s rights to practice their religions after “taking away” the voting rights, freedom of expression, press freedom, and the rule of law.
“They [Awami League] do the exact opposite of what they say. They talk about communal harmony, but they ruined the puja festival of the Hindu community, creating confusion and mistrust in society. Their activities have tarnished the country’s image and made our heads bow to the world,” he said.
The BNP leader mentioned the constitution of Bangladesh has enshrined all citizens’ right to practise the rituals of their own religions. “We won’t allow communal harmony to be ruined in Bangladesh.”
He alleged that the government is not willing to punish those involved in the recent communal violence in the country. “Rather, they’re trying to oppress the opposition leader and activists by implicating them in the incidents.”
Khosru said over 3,000 people of the Hindu community have been subjected to attacks and repression over the last nine years, but no trial of any of the incidents was held.