Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Thursday said the country’s current electoral system will have to be reformed in the interest of multi-party democracy.
“The current electoral system is not effective in many cases. Real democracy will be established and all parties’ participation in Parliament will be ensured if MPs are elected in proportion to the number of votes,” he said.
Under the current electoral system, the representation of only two-three major parties is ensured in Parliament.
GM Quader made the remarks at a discussion arranged by Jatiya Chhatra Samaj at the Jatiya Press Club, marking the Upazila Day.
He said the federal government system should be introduced since it is not possible to ensure good governance for 18-20 crore people with a unitary government system.
Stating that the federal government system exists in most countries of the world, the Jatiya Party chief said if eight provincial governments are established in the country, they will be able to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of people.
“It’ll help to ensure all services and justice for people properly,” he said.
The Jatiya Party Chairman said article 70 of the constitution needs to be revoked as MPs cannot vote against the party's decision only because of it. “The article 70 helps establish a dictatorship or autocracy in Parliament.”
He said article 70 is also a barrier to making the government accountable to the Parliament. “Good governance is not ensured without accountability,” he said.
Quader said their late party founder HM Ershad carried out many reforms during his rule, breaking the colonial system for the welfare of people. “He (Ershad) appointed the first-class officers in the Upazila Parishad under the elected representatives and made the administration functional under the elected Zila Parishad chairman.”
During Ershad’s rule, GM Quader claimed that there was good governance in the country and people could do business without any influence and got jobs irrespective of party affiliation and religion.
He urged the government to fully implement the Upazila system as dreamt by Ershad to empower the public representatives.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday alleged that the media outlets in Bangladesh are being controlled by various laws, hampering the freedom of press.
“Unfortunately, media workers are under pressure now around the world. We’re noticing this pressure in Bangladesh is much greater as many journalists have been killed and persecuted only for political reasons. They’ve been sent to jail on many occasions while media outlets have been shut,” he said.
The BNP leader said, “Media outlets are being controlled to control democracy by making various laws that aren’t conducive to ensuring media freedom. We’re observing with sadness that the freedom of press, freedom of expression and tolerance towards dissents have gradually been eliminated in Bangladesh.”
Fakhrul made the remarks while inaugurating a rally of Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) marking its silver jubilee.
He said their party believes that the media can play the biggest role in democracy and overall socio-economic development of the country. "The more freedom of press will be stronger and independent in a country, the more democracy will be stronger there,” he said.
He said democracy has long been absent in Bangladesh. “We must ensure the freedom of press ad independence of people here. We believe in multi-party democracy, parliamentary democracy and freedom of press.”
The BNP leader said it is shameful for the nation that 10 US senators wrote to the Trump administration to impose targeted sanctions on "senior commanders" of Bangladesh's Rab for killing more than 400 people extrajudicially.
He said it is not good for Bangladesh that its such issues are now getting the focus of the global community only because of the current political situation in the country.
Fakhrul greeted the DRU members on the occasion of its silver jubilee and hailed the responsible role of the journalists as the frontline worriers in the fight against coronavirus. “Many journalists also embraced death due to coronavirus. I pay respect to them and pray for the salvation of their departed souls.
He appreciated the DRU for staying united for 25 years as an exceptional organisation of journalists by remaining out of the political divide. "The way the Dhaka Reporters' Unity has been carrying out their work has undoubtedly shown a glimmer of hope for us. I hope that DRU’s such character will remain intact and you’ll move forward to truly serve democracy and people. “That should be your vow today.”
Later, the BNP leader inaugurated the colourful rally.
Earlier, on October 25, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the DRU’s silver jubilee celebration programmes from her official residence Gonobhaban.
BNP senior leader Nazrul Islam Khan on Tuesday said the assault of a navy officer by the son of a ruling party MP has exposed how the Awami League leaders have become wayward by staying in power for over a decade.
“The ministers and leaders of a party which assumes office without being elected by people become corrupt, and wayward. We’ve got its proof through the assault of a navy officer,” he said.
The BNP leader said the moral values of the government, its officials and ruling party men now do not work since it has been in power ‘immorally’. “So, they’re indulging in widespread corruption and unruly activities,”
To get rid of such a situation, Nazrul, a BNP standing committee member, said an elected and pro-people government must be installed through a mid-term election. “The killing of a retired army-major and the attack on a navy officer are the symptom of a disease caused by an unelected government. The symptoms will disappear if the disease is eliminated.”
He made the remarks while talking to reporters after placing wreaths at BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s grave together with the leaders of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal, marking its founding anniversary.
The BNP leader alleged that the government has failed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic for lack of its proper actions and sincerity.
He also said people now have no confidence in the government due to its 'failure' on all fronts and various ‘misdeeds’.
About the Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader’s comment that BNP leadership should resign from their posts for their failures to wage a fruitful movement over the last 10 years, Nazrul said people do not give any importance to the ruling party leaders’ remarks.”
"They (AL) were out of power for 21 years. Did they resign or did they retire from politics? So, such a comment doesn’t fit in their mouth,” he observed.
Also read: AL ‘cadres’ turned desperate, alleges BNP
President Abdul Hamid returned home on Tuesday morning after health check-up in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
BNP on Monday alleged that the ‘cadres’ of Awami League candidates have become desperate to obstruct opposition candidates from carrying out electioneering in Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 by-polls being pampered by local administrations.
“Awami cadres are attacking BNP candidates and their supporters and voters in Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 constituencies. They’re also threatening our leaders and activists to torture or arrest either in old or fresh fictitious cases,” said BNP’s acting office in-charge Syed Emran Saleh Prince.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Nayapaltan central office, he also alleged that law enforcers are not taking any action against those destroying the election atmosphere and creating chaos.
“Instead, the local Awami League leaders and activists are showing a desperate attitude by foiling our candidates’ electioneering abetted by local administrations. We condemn such attacks and obstructions to election campaigns,” Prince said.
He said the ruling party candidates are regularly violating the election code of conduct as the Election Commission is playing a ‘subservient’ role. “The government is indulging in a robbery in the name of election to ensure the victory of its candidates.”
The BNP leader called upon the voters to come up with a united resistance to foil the government’s move to hold a farcical election like December-30 one with the help of the Election Commission.
The voting of the by-polls to Dhaka-18 and Sirajganj-1 seats will be held on November 18.
Prince strongly condemned and protested the attack on a Navy officer and his wife in the capital’s Dhanmondi area on Sunday night reportedly by some youths, led by ruling party MP Haji Selim’s son. “There’s now no security of people of all walks of life in the country due to reckless behaviour of the ruling party men.”
He urged the government to arrest the attackers immediately and ensure their exemplary punishment.