Although some technocrats have given a mixed reaction to the address to the nation made over radio and television on Friday it has yet to evoke positive response from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the component parties of the 18-party alliance it heads.
While former adviser of caretaker government Dr. Akbar Ali Khan has termed the Prime Ministers proposal for an all-party election-time government as positive he has also underscored the need for clarifying different aspects of power and functions of such a government and hoped things could be sorted out through dialogue.
Senior advocate of the Supreme Court Barrister Rafiqul Huq has said that the Prime Minister has made a positive offer and that the opposition should start working through it to ensure the holding of a credible election in the country.
Leaders of two important components of the BNP-led political alliance the Bikalpa Dhara of former president , AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Liberal Democratic Party of former minister Col (retd) Oli Ahmed have termed the Prime Minister’s offer as reflecting a lack of sincerity to hold the next general elections by ensuring the participation of all political parties.
The complained that the Prime Minister through the address has sought to hoodwink the opposition which wanted the government to adopt a bill on restoration of the provision for caretaker government in the Constitution for holding the next general election s in a free and fair manner.
The Jatiya Party of former President HM Ershad, a component of the 14-party alliance led by Prime Minister’s party the Awami League has said that the Premiers address to the nation lacked clarity on the proposed all-party election-time government in that it did not state who would head the government, and what would be its structure and functions. JP’s reaction was made known by its secretary general Ruhul Amin Hawladar after a meeting of the JP presidium.
The BNP has made known that it would make its reactions known by today. But infuriated by the banning of meetings and processions in the city, centring on the party’s plan to hold a rally in the capital on 25 October, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has accused the government of snatching people’s democratic rights to holding meetings and taking out processions.
Indications are thus clear that the possibility of giving a positive response to the Prime Minister’s call to join an all-party interim government for overseeing the polls is remote. The premier has sought nomination of opposition leaders from among members of Parliament, a clear indication that MPs will continue to hold office during election and enjoy protocol and other facilities which non-MP candidates will not get during the election.
The BNP wants the government to restore the provision of caretaker government by moving a bill in Parliament, failing which it might opt for a movement to compel the incumbents to do so. – Greenwatch Dhaka Desk