Bd opposition Jatiya Oikya Front, 20-party joining election

Bd opposition Jatiya Oikya Front, 20-party joining election

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Dhaka, Nov – 11 – Ending all speculations, Bangladesh’s newly formed opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front and BNP-led 20-party alliance have decided to take part in the ensuing Parliamentary polls slated for December 23 as part of their movement to restore democracy. The announcements came from separate press conferences at Jatiya Press Club and BNP chairperson’s political office in Gulshan.
“Despite a severe adverse situation, the Jatiya Oikya Front has decided to participate in the election as part of its movement for restoration of democracy in the country,” said top Oikya Front leader Dr Kamal Hossain.
Speaking at a crowded press conference at Jatiya Press Club, Dr Kamal demanded deferment of the current election schedule by one month an announcement of a new schedule.
Oikya Front spokesperson Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir read out a written statement on behalf of Dr Kamal Hossain.
“We are not backing down from our seven-point demand for participatory and acceptable elections. Rather deferment of poll schedule for one month has been added with it. The Oikya Front will continue its movement” said the statement.
The Oikya Front warned that it is the responsibility of the government and the Election Commission (EC) to ensure a participatory and acceptable election saying that side by side taking preparation for the polls, they would have a strong surveillance on the behaviour of
the government and the EC.
If the people’s demands are not accepted, the government and the EC have to take responsibility for the situation to be arising out, said the statement.
The seven-point charter of demands includes the release for BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, dissolution of parliament and election under a nonpartisan government.
Earlier, the BNP-led 2o-party alliance at a press conference also announced that they would take part in the election.
Alliance leader and president of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Col (Retd) Oli Ahmed made the announcement at a press conference at Chairperson’s Gulshan office. BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan was present on the occasion.
Oli said the alliance partners would take part in the polls with BNP’s poll symbol the sheaf of paddy.
As per the poll schedule announced on November 8, the 11th parliamentary elections will be held on December 23 while the last date for submitting nomination papers is November 19, the date for scrutinising nomination papers is November 22 and the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers is November 29.
Replying to a question, Dr Kamal Hossain said that Oikya Front would decide within a couple of days whether they will run polls under a single symbol.
He alleged that the government is yet to ensure a level playing field for holding a free, fair and neutral election.
Terming the next polls an election for the restoration of voting rights, the Oikya Front hoped that the people would be in the field to exercise their voting right and stay beside it to build a happy, and prosperous Bangladesh.
Referring to the November 1 and November 7 dialogues with the Prime Minister, Dr Kamal regretted that they did not see mentality in the ruling party on reaching understanding on the minimum issue to overcome the political impasse and it rejected all of our demands.
“The government indeed was not sincere in reaching a minimum understanding with the Oikya Front,” he said.
In this regard, he mentioned that about 1200 opposition activists were arrested only in a single day after the premier assured them stopping the arrest of harassment and the EC did not heed to its demands for deferring the poll schedule.
The Oikya Front said the hasten move of the EC in announcing the poll schedule proved that the government did not want any understanding through talks and it wanted to hold another January 5 like lopsided election keeping the Oikya Front from the outside the poll process.
Dr Kamal, also president of Gano Forum, alleged that a minimum condition for creating a level playing field which is required for a free and fair election.
About the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), he said the EC has not scraped the decision of using EVMs in the poll despite resistance from all the parties and the general people. In such a situation, he said, holding a participatory and acceptable poll is almost impossible.
Top Oikya Front leaders Barrister Moudud Ahmed of BNP, ASM Abdur Rab and Abdul Malek Ratan of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Bangabir Kader Siddique of Krishak Sramik Janata League, Mahmudur Rahman Manna of Nagorik Oikya, Sultan Mohammed Mansur of Jatiya Oikya Prokriya and Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, among others, were present at the jam-packed press conference.
The opposite activists staged a showdown at Jatiya Press Club soon after announcement of the Oikya Front and chanted different slogans demanding the release of Khaleda Zia who is serving 10-year jail terms in two graft cases.
The Oikya Front was formed on October 13 with seven points demands for a national election under a neutral government after dissolution of parliament and release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
The 11-point visions of the alliance includes ensuring checks and balances in the state power, decentralisation of administration, freeing MPs from the stringent restrictions imposed on them under article 70 of the constitution, formation of a constitutional commission to make appointments to all constitutional and other important posts and full independence of the judiciary.
Meanwhile, the BNP would start selling nomination papers to intending candidates for the next general elections on Monday.
The nomination papers can be bought from BNP’s central office since 10:00am on Monday at a cost of Tk 5,000 for each. Tk 25,000 (nonrefundable) have to deposit during submitting the nomination paper, according to party sources. – Staff Reorter

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