PM welcomes new political platform ahead of election

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DHAKA, Sept 2, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today welcomed the emergence of a political alliance ahead of the upcoming elections expecting it to be contested by all political parties.

“I welcome their unity as opponents of Awami League should have a strong platform,” she told a press conference referring to the newly formed grouping under the leadership of Dr Badrudowza Chowdhury, Dr Kamal Hossain and others.

Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, added that her party “wants a good opposition alliance so that we can contest in the election”.

The premier said the top figures of the new alliance in the past hatched designs against incumbent government but “yet we welcome their initiative” against backdrop of the country’s two-party system.

“We (however) want that their unity will not be aimed to foil the election, but jointly contest in the polls,” she said.

The press conference was held at the premier’s Gonobhabna residence a day after her return from Nepal attending the 4th BIMSTEC Summit while the issues of electronic voting machine (EVM), imprisonment BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and Rohingyas prominently featured the question-answer session.

Sheikh Hasina favoured limited use” of EVM in the next general elections as the system still required more experiments before its nationwide introduction for voting.

“Different countries hold their elections using the EVM . . . but the system must not imposed in a haste as it is a matter practice,” the premier said.

But, she said, BNP was entirely opposed to the EVM use as it would bury scopes to stuff ballot boxed with false ballot papers as per their design.

Sheikh Hasina said political parties, which were habituated in manipulating votes now appeared loud against polls rigging.

“The next elections undoubtedly will be free and fair as we don’t do politics to snatch peoples voting rights . . . we will retain power if people give us vote, otherwise not (and) I’m saying this from my belief,” Sheikh Hasina said.

The premier said nobody in the country was powerful enough to foil the election as the process was the only means to take forward the country “and people now know it well that their development is possible under the democratic system alone”.

She, however, said conspiracy appeared to be a phenomenon in Bangladesh where Father of the Nation was killed and “repeated attempts are being made on my life as well”.

Sheikh Hasina said a vested quarter is always active to push the country to undemocratic rule. In that case they get importance and opportunity to enjoy a slice of the state power.

She said this quarter launched a campaign to foil the 2014 general elections as a number of candidates were elected unopposed.

But she recalled that one of the proponents of that campaign Dr. Kamal Hossain himself was elected unopposed from a constituency which was left by Bangabandhu.

Replying to a question the prime minister said she agreed with a an opinion which demands the conspirators of Bangabandhu killing be exposed to trial along with the killers.

She said many studies and researches were carried out abroad on the August 15 carnage which will come into light one day.

Asked for comments on BNP’s demand for their imprisoned leader Khaleda Zia’s release, the premier said political grounds did not send her to jail and rather “she (Khaleda) is in prison for plundering orphans’ money”.

She said the incumbent government did not bring the charge against her and rather the previous caretaker government “led by her (Khaleda) favorites Fakhruddin and Moinuddin sued her”.

If, the premier said, BNP wanted to get her released they must do so through the court but reminded the party that she was faced with several more cases.

“(Yet) if they want her immediate release, she (Khaleda) has to appeal to the president,” Sheikh Hasina said.

The premier said BNP lawyers lingered the proceedings of the case for long 10 years, but her lawyers could not prove her innocence.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would continue to progress if Awami League comes to power again and “it would be disastrous for everybody if the people, who plundered the orphans money, get the scope to return to power”.

“If BNP comes to power, bad days will come back in peoples life . . . I hope the people are aware of the fact and give us the opportunity to serve them again,” she dsaid.

The prime minister said Bangladesh would follow the identical procedures practiced in other democracies where parliamentary polls are held under the incumbent government, keeping the parliament existing but non-functional during the election time.

The existing constitutional system has been framed so no vacuum is created in the governance during the interim period of change of a government, Sheikh Hasina said.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, Awami League general secretary and road transport minister Obaidul Quader were present at the press conference, moderated by premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim.

 

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