Jatiya Oikyafront, 20-party announce to join election
BNP’s two alliances –Jatiya Oikyafront and 20-Praty– on Sunday announced to participate in the upcoming 11th parliamentary elections as part of their movement to restore democracy, and demanded the election be deferred by one month.
Leaving behind all the concerns and confusions, Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain came up with the announcement at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club.
“Under the current situation, holding an inclusive and credible election is almost impossible. So, it’s very tough for the Jatiya Oikyafront to take the decision on joining the polls. Despite this extreme adverse situation, the Jatiya Oikyafront has decided to participate in the election as part of a movement for restoration of democracy in the country,” he said.
Dr Kamal, however, said the Oikyafront is not backing off from the seven-point demand it already placed for holding a participatory and acceptable election.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, on behalf of Dr Kamal, read out a written statement of the Oikyafront at the press conference.
Earlier in the day, BNP’s another alliance, 20-party also announced to take part in polls with same demands and grounds.
In the written statement, Dr Kamal said, “We demand the deferment of the election by one month after scrapping the current schedule, and announcement of a new schedule.”
He said the election can be held within the tenure of the current Parliament if it is deferred by one month.
Dr Kamal also mentioned that the election schedule was deferred twice in 2008 to ensure the participation of then BNP-led 4-party alliance. ”Oikyafront will continue its movement to realise all these demands.”
Issuing a note of warning, the alliance chief said holding a credible and inclusive election is the sole responsibility of the government and the Election Commission. “Apart from taking preparations for joining the election, Jatiya Oikyafront will keep a sharp eye on the attitudes of the government and the Election Commission.”
He also warned that the government and the Election Commission will be held responsible for any emerging situation if people’s demands are not accepted.
Dr Kamal said people’s minimum democratic rights and the rights to franchise independently were ‘snatched in the so-called’ election on January 5, 2014. So, the next election will surely be the election for the restoration of people’s voting rights.”
BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, JSD president ASM Abdur Rob, general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan, Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Oikya Prokriya’s Sultan Mohammad Mansur and Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury were, among others, present.
On behalf of the 20-party alliance, LDP president Oli Ahmed at a press conference at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office said they decided to participate in the election for the sake of democracy though most of their demands have not been accepted yet.
“We’re strongly committed to continuation of the democratic trend in the country. As we‘ve confidence in people, the 20-party unanimously decided to join the upcoming parliamentary elections in alliance despite the extreme hostile situation,” he said.
Oli also said they will reach an understating with the Jatiya Oikyafront over the election.
Like the Jatiya Oikyafront, he demanded the election be deferred by one month.
The 20-party leader also urged the government to release BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail before the election.
On Thursday evening, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda in a televised address to the nation announced the schedule for the next general election.
As per the schedule, the 11th parliamentary elections will be held on December 23 (Sunday) while the last date for submitting nomination papers is November 19, the date for scrutinising nomination papers is November 22 and the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers is November 29.