Polls under non-party govt to be compelled

Calling upon the government to reinstate the caretaker government system, leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia on Saturday warned that the government will be forced to hold the next general election under a non-party neutral administration.“Our position is very clear about the parliamentary polls-time government. We won’t participate in any polls under a partisan government. Because, in the context of Bangladesh, a partisan-administration can’t create a level playing field,” she told the House while delivering her speech on the proposed budget for the new fiscal.
The BNP chairperson, who for the first time took part in the general discussion on the national budget in the 9th parliament, said she thinks the solution to the framework of the election-time administration can be found out through talks instead of violence. To resolve the problem, it’s necessary for a dialogue and the government’s sincerity.”
Khaleda said the ruling party’s stubbornness and aggressive and illogical remarks over holding the polls under the leadership of the current Prime Minister will not help overcome the crisis.
“I’m sincerely calling upon the government to take initiatives for constituting a non-party neutral polls-time government. I hope, the government will take this step for the sake of the country and continuation of democracy,” Khaleda added.
Stating that resolving the political conflict is a demand of time, the BNP chief said, “It’ll have to ensure the peaceful transfer of power through discussions.”
A greater national unity is a must now, she said, “Let’s avoid politics of revenge and conflict and turn the country a land of peace.
A free and fair election is needed to make it happens.”
She said though the national election is nearing fast there is no initiative to resolve the political crisis over the polls-time administration.
“There’s no alternative to holding the election under a non-party caretaker government with the participation of all political parties for the continuation of democracy.”
Mentioning that all political parties will take part in the polls if the government restores the caretaker system, she said the country’s 90 percent people also want the system to be reinstated.
Khaleda said the crisis of confidence and mistrust among the political parties is the biggest problem in Bangladesh politics. “No election under a party government will be acceptable in the country as long as this crisis of confidence will prevail.”
The BNP chief also ruled out the government’s claim that the local body polls under it were free and fair and the national election can be held under it in the same manner, saying, “It’s not fully true.”
Khaleda said the government manipulated the upazila elections and union parishad polls.
Justifying her claim, she mentioned former Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda’s remarks that he could not ensure proper elections to the upazilas due the government’s interference.
The leader of the opposition alleged that the recently-held elections to the four city corporations were not totally free and fair. “Had the polls been free and fair, your candidates would have lost their security money. People have ventilated their angers in the polls.”
She said the government has unnecessarily created the present crisis over the polls-time government annulling the caretaker system from the constitution through the 15th amendment.
Khaleda urged the European Union and other countries not to follow the US decision on GSP as the workers will ultimately be affected if it happens. She said all will have to work together giving the highest importance to its solution.  “We need coordinated efforts for the improvement of the working environment in the readymade garment industry,” she said.
The BNP chief criticised the allegation brought against her that she wrote a letter to the US government for suspending the GSP benefits.
“There’s no question to write any letter to the US authorities seeking suspension of the GSP facility to Bangladesh.”
She said it is the Aminul murder and the Rana Plaza collapse that brought the decision of the GSP suspension. “I would like to urge the government not to shift its failures onto others. Stop such propaganda at this critical stage (of the country).”
Khaleda swiped at the government for its move to break up Grameen Bank into 19 entities. “It’s very unfortunate that Prof Muhammad Yunus is disrespected and defamed at home though he is bringing honour for the nation.”
She said the nation will turn intellectually bankrupt if revered persons are not given the due honour.
Khaleda was critical of the recent growing trend of badmouthing in parliament, “What people are thinking about politicians and what the young generation is learning from us is such words are used in the House.”
The former premier said it is necessary to find out why the young MPs are being encouraged to use indecent language. “We need to find out the reason for the trend instead of blaming the young MPs from two sides if we want to keep the continuation of democracy and ensure a healthy environment in parliament.”
She said the attitude the government showed towards the opposition and the way they treated it and the repressive measures they have taken against it in the last four years will remain as a black chapter in the nation’s history.
She also slammed the Prime Minister for breaching her promise to elect the deputy speaker from the opposition camp and not to consider the opposition by its number. (Source: UNB)

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