Khaleda eligible to join election: Fakhrul

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said their party thinks Khaleda Zia, now in jail, is eligible for joining the election and she will do that.

“It matters little what the ruling party leaders say. Our chairperson (Khaleda) is still eligible for joining the election and we believe she’ll do that,” he said. Fakhrul came up with remarks while talking to reporters at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office in the afternoon. BNP collected three nomination forms for Khaleda, convicted in two graft cases, to field her as the party’s candidate in Feni-1, Bagura-6 and Bagura-7 constituencies.

Khaleda appealed against the lower court verdict and sought quashing of charges in Zia Charitable graft case on Sunday while against the High Court verdict that extended her punishment in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case today.Legal experts said the apex court now will determine whether the BNP chief can join the polls or not.

Fakhrul alleged that the Election Commission could not yet ensure the minimum level of equal atmosphere for holding a credible election. “We’re in the election race in an uneven atmosphere.”He alleged that the government and the Election Commission are not paying heed to any demand of the opposition parties for ensuring a level-playing field.

Fakhrul voiced concern that their party’s prospective candidates are being arrested and sent to jail, and they are not being released on bail.The BNP alleged that the government is trying to establish its influence in the election by using lower courts.

“We would like to say the arrest of our leaders and activists must be stopped and all political prisoners be released. Especially, Khaleda Zia’s release is very crucial,” he said. Fakhrul said they took the interviews of 183 nomination seekers of their party under Barishal division in the morning and they are now interviewing the nomination seekers from Khulna division.

Asked whether they are facing any intraparty conflict regarding nomination, the BNP leader said their party is united and all will work for the candidates the party will nominate. “We’ve taken part in the election as part of our movement, and we know the results of the election will determine the future of Bangladesh’s democracy.”Fakhrul said they will consider the loyalty towards the party and devotion for democracy as the main criteria in selecting its candidates.

source: UNB