Dhaka, Oct 15 (UNB) – BNP on Sunday placed its 20-point proposal, including holding the next polls under a supportive government, deployment of army with magistracy power, and dissolving the current parliament before the election, in a dialogue with the Election Commission (EC).
During the nearly three-hour dialogue with the Commission, the party also proposed withdrawing all the ‘false’ cases filed against its leaders and activists, including party chief Khaleda Zia, before the election, the release of arrested party leaders and activists and stopping killing, enforced disappearance and repressive acts.
Talking to reporters after the dialogue, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir briefed reporters about their party proposals.
He said their party proposed the Commission to take steps from now on to ensure the rights of all the political parties to hold public rallies and political programmes.
The BNP leader said they also want the EC to take steps for a dialogue between the government and the political parties for ensuring a fair election.
Replaying to a question, he said they, after the dialogue, have got a little bit hopeful about the Election Commission that it will play a positive role. “Under the current political atmosphere and democratic system, the Election Commission can do very little. Despite that, we’re a little bit hopeful after the dialogue.”
Fakhrul said the EC assured them of doing something within their jurisdiction about BNP’s demand for arranging talks between the government and the political parties and installing an election-time supportive government.
He also said their party wants to believe that the EC dialogue or roadmap will not be mere eyewash and time-buying one. “The EC must ensure that the dialogue doesn’t turn into a farce.”
The BNP leader said the entire nation hopes that the Commission will take sincere steps without any fear and favour for holding a credible, impartial and inclusive election. “BNP wants to sincerely assist the EC for restoring people’s voting rights, making the election process transparent and acceptable.”
He said the EC must create a level-playing field for all parties from now on.
Fakhrul said the Commission said it will try to present the nation a good election. “They said our proposals are timely and well-though-out ones which will help them in the future.”
Their other proposals include amending the RPO to define the armed forces as the law enforcement agencies to deploy them a week before the polls with magistracy power, restoring the pre-2008 delimitation of 300 parliamentary constituencies, keeping administration free from politicisation, abolishing the management committees of all the educational institutions six months before the election, taking inclusive decisions on the election by the Commission and avoiding unilateral decision by the CEC or any commissioner, transferring all metropolitan Commissioners, DCs, ASPs, UNO, OCs, giving priority to EC officials in making returning and assistant returning officers, including Bangladeshi expatriates in the voter list, dropping dead people from the voter list, following a transparent process in selecting polling stations and polling officers, introducing online submission system of nomination papers, announcing election results at every polling station after vote counting in the presence of all polling agents, bringing transparency and neutrality in selection local election observers and encouraging good number of foreign observers to monitor the election.
The party also proposed ensuring equal opportunity for all parties and candidates in carrying out electioneering, ensuring freedom of the press, cancelling the section 57 of the ICT act, keeping mobile network in operation on the voting day, installing CC TV at all the poling stations and taking effective steps to prevent the use of muscle power and black money in the polls.
The dialogue began around 11am at the conference room of Nirbachon Bhaban in the city with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair.
At the beginning of the meeting, the CEC praised different development activities of the BNP founder late President Ziaur Rahman and the different governments of BNP.
He said BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia was the first woman who elected the Prime Minister in the country in 1991.
He said BNP governments had contribution to many areas such as it made primary education compulsory, made women education free till Class-XII, and established Open University, National University, Rapid Action Battalion, Anti-Corruption Commission and Expatriates Welfare and Oversees Ministry.
A 16-member BNP delegation, led by Fakhrul, joined the talks.
The other members of the delegation are BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Tariqul Islam, Mahbubur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, chairperson’s advisers ASM Abdul Halim, Ismail Jabiullah and Abdur Rashid Sarker and senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
The Election Commission on August 24 last started dialogues with 40 registered political parties to take their opinions over the EC's preparations for the next national election likely to be held in December 2018. So far, the Commission has held dialogues with 32 parties.
The EC will also hold talks with Awami League on October 18.