Khaleda expects a neutral and strong EC

Khaleda expects a neutral and strong EC

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Dhaka-BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is expected to come up with a framework on how to form a neutral and strong Election Commission (EC) to hold the 11th general election in a credible manner with the participation of all political parties, said its senior leaders.They also dropped a broad hint that they will not boycott the next election and their main focus is now on mounting pressure on the government to form the next EC with neutral and competent persons who will be able to play an effective role in holding a fair election, even if it is held under the current government.
The BNP policymakers also hinted that they may finally retreat from their caretaker government demand if a strong EC can be constituted after the expiry of the tenure of the current Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad-led Commission in February next.
“After our chairperson presents the party’s proposals on the EC and next election through a press conference, we’ll monitor the government’s response to it. If they show any negative attitude, we’ll start mobilising public support by holding various programmes and rallies, a BNP senior leader, involved in the framework formulation, said wishing to remain anonymous.
He also said they are also preparing a roadmap for a peaceful movement to force the government to constitute a neutral EC based on the opinions of major political parties. “We’re also in touch with civil society members and foreign friends to put pressure on the government for engaging in talks with opposition parties for holding a fair election.”
Contacted, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said Khaleda Zia will soon roll out a framework about their party’s stance on the Election Commission and the next election. “We’ve almost completed our framework outlining what we want and how it can be implemented. Wait for our chairperson to unveil it within a few days.”
Asked whether they will ditch their long-sought caretaker government system, he said, “I can’t say anything in this regard before our chairperson holds the press conference.”
Fakhrul said it is the expectation of BNP and all other parties that the EC will be reconstituted with competent and neutral persons who will be able to hold the next election in a free and fair manner with the participation of all parties.
He said the country’s people will not accept if the Commission is formed further with ‘spineless’ people. “We’re on a movement. We’ll intensify it to force the government to form a neutral Election Commission.”
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said their party will soon take to the streets with various programmes on issues of public interests and formation of a neutral Election Commission.
“We’ll mobilise public opinions across the country on reconstitution of the EC based on the opinions of main political parties. We’ll also present an outline as to how a neutral and acceptable Election Commission can be formed and a fair election be held.”
He said they will have no option, but to wage a nonviolent movement together with people to realise their demand if the government unilaterally forms the EC without discussion with political parties.
Another BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rhaman said their party’s now main focus is on forcing the government to form a strong Commission with persons who can defy e the unethical order of any influential person or quarter. “If a strong election Commission can be formed, it will help ensure a fair election and restoration of democracy,” he observed.
Asked whether they will back off their demand for restoration of caretaker government if such a Commission is formed, Mahbub said, “Now we hardly talk about caretaker government as we’re talking about holding fair and neutral polls. We’ll take a decision about it after the formation of the Election Commission.”
A party leader close to Khaleda said BNP has started reorganising its grassroots committees and associate bodies to make the party ready for another spell of movement.
He said new committees of Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal and Swechchhasebak Dal have already been announced while the Jubo Dal’s one will be declared soon.
Besides, the BNP leader said they are also preparing for the next election. “Some party leaders have been entrusted with the responsibility to prepare a list of possible candidates for every parliamentary constituency and the election manifesto.”

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