vernment, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain on Tuesday said local government polls on party line will strengthen the practice of democracy at the grassroots level.
The minister came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after attending a programme of signing the Annual Performance Agreement of the government with different divisions at the Secretariat.
Replying to a question over government’s move to amend laws to hold local body polls under party banners, Mosharraf said in the local body elections which were held earlier candidates had sought their votes for their parties.
Responding to a question whether the government’s decision will trigger fights among party men at the grassroots level, he said, “There’s no chance of any conflict. The polls will be held in a festive mood instead.”
Referring to BNP’s reaction terming the government move an ill-motivated one, Mosharraf said. “If anyone tries to describe a good work as a bad one then it depends on their viewpoint. It’s not our duty to clear their eyes.”
Earlier on Monday, the Cabinet approved drafts seeking amendments to four laws and one ordinance, aiming to hold local government polls on partisan basis or through party symbol or independently.
Demanding a referendum to take public opinion about partisan local government polls, BNP senior leader ASM Hannan Shah on Tuesday alleged that the government is trying to hold elections to the local government bodies under party banners to establish a one-party rule in the country.
“The current regime has put the last nail into the election process of the autonomous local government institutions as the Cabinet yesterday (Monday) approved proposals for holding elections to the local government bodies on party line. They even didn’t think that it’s necessary to discuss such an important issue with other political parties,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, Hannan Shah, a BNP standing committee member, further said, “They (govt) did it as part of their blueprint of establishing Baksal (one-party) rule. They’re gradually re-establishing Baksal with the advice from local and foreign intellectuals in a different style.”
Swadhinata Forum, a pro-BNP platform, arranged the discussion at the Jatiya Press Club marking the first death anniversary of Prof Piash Karima, a political analyst and TV talk-show panelist.
Earlier on Monday, the weekly Cabinet meeting approved drafts seeking amendments to four laws and one ordinance, aiming to hold local government polls on partisan basis or through party symbol or independently.
Referring to the role of the Election Commission and the administration in the last three city corporations’ elections and other local government polls, Hannan Shah said if the local government elections are held under party banner those will not be free and fair.
“The country’s people witnessed what role the EC and the administration played in the past elections. If the local government polls are held on party line, the EC and the administration will definitely work in favour of the ruling party candidates and ensure their victories by any means,” he observed.
The BNP leader also feared that the partisan local body polls will only contribute to increased electoral chaos. “We want to say that local government election is a national issue. So, hold a referendum and take public opinion before finalising the decision.”
About the recent murders of two foreigners, the BNP leader urged the government to refrain from making any comment that may hamper investigations.
Referring to Prime Minister’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy’s statement that he has credible information about BNP-Jamaat’s involvement in the killing of the foreigners, he said if the government has such information why the killers remained at large.
Speaking at the programme, ex-VC of Dhaka University Prof Emajuddin Ahmed strongly opposed the government’s decision to hold the local government bodies under party banners, saying it will create disorder in the local government bodies and destroy peace in rural Bangladesh.- News Desk