Caretakers won’t step down this time: PM warns

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned the BNP against making way for unelected people to come to power through the restoration of the system of a poll-time caretaker government.“This time (they) will come with heavy preparation. You can’t force them out,” she told the BNP on Wednesday in an oblique reference to the past army-backed caretaker government that had assumed office in January, 2007 and stayed on in power for two years.
During an unscheduled discussion in Parliament she said that she had first heard the government was army-backed, and then some people became active to make the army head it.
Amid the opposition’s persistent demand that the non-party caretaker government system be restored, Hasina has kept warning that a plot was being hatched to scuttle the democratic process by letting unelected people come to power by exploiting the current political crisis.
The caretaker government led by former Bangladesh Bank Governor Fakhruddin Ahmed had taken office following the promulgation of a state of emergency amid political unrest fuelled by the conflicting positions of the two main political parties over the holding of parliamentary elections.
Awami League President and incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia were jailed and many political leaders were subjected to torture under that government.
Democracy returned through the late 2008 national elections in which the Awami League was voted to power.
The present government annulled the caretaker administration provision through the 15th Amendment to the Constitution stipulating that elections would be held under an elected government.
Hasina has been saying that her aim is to firm up the democratic system in which power will pass from one political administration to the next elected government.
But the BNP maintains that elections would not be free and fair if held under a political regime.
Addressing the BNP, the Prime Minister had said in Parliament on Sunday: “Don’t try to bring anyone to power unconstitutionally. It won’t bring any good. Even the elections will be halted.”
The BNP leaders claim that the Prime Minister statement exposes her unwillingness to hold elections.
Hasina clarified her Sunday’s statement saying: “I had said that a caretaker government won’t hold polls.”

Leave a Reply