Withdraw polls schedule, create atmosphere for talks: BNP

November 30, 2013

The Acting Secretary General of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, has asked the Election Commission (EC) to withdraw the schedule it has announced for the 10th parliamentary polls in order to accelerate the process of dialogue for resolving the crisis over the poll-time administration. “The EC has announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary polls, ignoring the opinion of the people and the local and international communities. The poll schedule should be postponed, upholding the people’s demand for elections under a non-party poll-time management,” Alamgir said.
Alamgir was talking to reporters after a Namaj-e-Janaza, held in front of the party’s Naya Paltan central office in the capital after Jummah prayers, seeking eternal peace of the departed souls who were allegedly killed during the government-sponsored crackdown during the Opposition alliance’s 71-hour countrywide blockade last week.
The Opposition spokesperson said the people of the country are bursting into rebellion over the demand to hold the next general elections under a non-partisan administration. But the government is moving towards holding lopsided polls under a partisan government, he alleged.
“Please build a bridge to create a congenial atmosphere for dialogue in the greater interest of an impartial and inclusive general election,” he said, pointing fingers at the government and the EC. BNP leaders Fazlur Rahman
Patal, Mahbub Uddin Khokan, Sanaullah Mia, Masud Ahmed Talukdar and others, including leaders of the 18-Party Alliance, took part in the Namaj-e-Janaza.
Earlier, BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced at a press conference that the 18-Party Alliance would stage demonstrations across the country, including the capital Dhaka, on Saturday, demanding that the poll schedule for the 10th Parliamentary elections be immediately withdrawn.
“The demonstrations will also protest against the government’s evil attempt to hold a lopsided national poll, its agent’s acts of sabotage in torching passenger buses, and police raids at the residences of the Opposition party men,” he added. As per this schedule, the protest rallies will be held in all cities and district-level towns across the country as well as at the Suhrawardi Uddyan in the capital at about 3pm on Saturday, said Rizvi, who is also the office secretary of the BNP.
The main Opposition BNP-led 18-Party Alliance’s nationwide 71-hour rail-road-waterway blockade programme, organised to protest the poll schedule, ended at 5am on Friday amid widespread violence.
Holding the government responsible for the prevailing political crisis, Rizvi said it is engaging in killing people in order to thwart the antigovernment movement.
At another discussion meeting, the Opposition chief whip, Zainul Abdin Farroque, alleged that the government is killing people, setting them ablaze, to divert the general public’s attention from the Opposition’s antigovernment movement for elections under a non-partisan administration.
The discussion meeting was organised to demand the withdrawal of the poll schedule and was organised by a pro-BNP organisation at the National Press Club on Friday.
At a separate programme, BNP standing committee member Mahbubur Rahman accused the government of playing a game of hide-and-seek under the pretext of holding a dialogue.
“The government is planning to stage a drama in the name of a dialogue. The country will be plunged into a situation akin to a civil war if such a drama is actually staged,” he said.

-With The Independent input

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