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BNP won’t allow stage-managed polls

A senior BNP leader on Monday said his party would resist any government move to manipulate the next general election from behind the scenes keeping the opposition away.

The statement is a response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s remarks of Sunday that ‘it is not important who are taking part in the polls and who are not’.

“I’d like to tell the Prime Minister that everyone in power speaks the way you are. All the autocrats spoke in such a style in the past,” BNP Standing Committee Member Tariqul Islam said at a programme at Bhasani Auditorium at the city’s Naya Paltan.

Hasina had said at the meeting of Awami League’s Parliamentary Party that balloting would take place on schedule without waiting for anyone to join it. Her statement came amid opposition’s threat to boycott the elections if it is not supervised by a non-party government.

Tariqul claimed that the Prime Minister hinted at a one-sided election through such remarks. “The government is conspiring for a stage-managed election,” he said.

The parliamentary elections are set to be held under a partisan administration as the government annulled the caretaker provision in 2011 through the 15th Amendment to the Constitution following a Supreme Court verdict.

The BNP-led 18-Party Alliance wants reinstatement of the constitutional provision on the polls-time non-party government saying elections held under a party government would never be fair.

Tariqul alleged that the government was torturing the leaders and activists of his party in a ‘tyrannical style’.

“Our Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has been kept in jail by showing him arrested in one case after another.”

He said more than 20,000 leaders and activists of his party have been indicted in ‘false cases’ in the four years of the Awami League-led incumbent government.

“I would like to tell the government, don’t push the country towards anarchy,” he warned.

The BNP leader dubbed the speech of President Zillur Rahman in Parliament’s winter session the ‘speech of the government’. “It’s not a President’s speech.”


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