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10 November, 2018 12:24:47 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 November, 2018 12:36:21 PM

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Awami League upbeat over 11th JS polls

Oikyafront to announce decision today
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD and ABU JAKIR
Awami League upbeat over 11th JS polls
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader flashes a nomination paper as he inaugurates the party ticket selling programme at the party’s Dhanmondi office in the capital yesterday buying two for his party chief. Independent Photo

Leaders and activists of the Awami League (AL)-led 14-party alliance across the country are in a celebratory mood as they get prepared for the upcoming 11th parliamentary elections slated for Dec 23 with Thursday’s announcement of the poll schedule. Newly-formed alliance Oikyafront that includes AL’s arch rival BNP, on the other hand, is busy with movement to push for their 7-point charter of demands, including dissolution of parliament, holding the election under a neutral government and the release of BNP chief Khaleda Zia.

Most of BNP senior leaders, meanwhile, have decided in favour of participating in the upcoming national polls.

The decision came in a meeting of the party’s standing committee on Thursday night, said a member of the committee on condition of anonymity. The decision was taken as part of the party’s ongoing movement for a free and credible election, he added.

He, however, said the party will eventually implement any decision taken by its chairperson Khaleda Zia and senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman.

 “As the party is a part of the Oikyafront, so the BNP decision will be made public from a meeting of the alliance steering committee on Saturday (today),” said the BNP leader.  

Most senior BNP leaders think that the upcoming national polls would not be free, fair and credible without the participation of the major opposition BNP and its chairperson Khaleda Zia, who is currently in jail in connection with graft cases.

The AL started selling nomination forms amid much fanfare giving the party’s Dhanmondi political office of party president Sheikh Hasina a festive look while the BNP office remained almost deserted yesterday with the party’s top leaders attending an Oikyafront rally in Rajshahi.

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in a televised address to the nation on Thursday announced the schedule for the 11th parliamentary elections.

Some leaders of Oikyafront said the alliance may reiterate their demand to accept their

charter of demands and defer the poll schedule to pave the way to its participation in the polls.

“We do hope that we will sit together tomorrow (Saturday). All (leaders) are in Rajshahi now, we will sit after their return,” said Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain.

Talking to The Independent, he said they have got their primary reactions from the public meeting in Rajshahi and they would determine their next course of action after considering all aspects today. Kamal Hossain, who could not attend the public meeting in Rajshahi on account of his illness, said he was feeling well now.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Rajshahi rally, the Oikyafront leaders said they wanted to take part in the polls but their seven-point charter of demands would have to be implemented.

However, the Oikyafront—which has held two rounds of dialogues with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over the next elections—is yet to make a formal reaction to the announcement of the poll schedule by the chief election commissioner.

BNP vice-chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu told The Independent that they would finalise its decision over its participation in the elections within a couple of days. “The final announcement on whether we will be taking part in the elections will come within a day or two,” he said.

He said the PM would have to take a decision on whether she is for holding the next elections in a peaceful and neutral manner. “If the people cannot cast their votes peacefully there will be a mass upsurge,” he warned.

The BNP leader further said the elections must be meaningful, as, otherwise, the Opposition alliance will do whatever is necessary.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rab) general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan said they want to take part in the elections. However, he demanded postponement of the poll schedule, saying it would be difficult to get nomination papers from prospective candidates, finalise the names of candidates and submit their nomination papers in such a short span of time.

Meanwhile, soon after the announcement of the election schedule, the ruling AL’s leaders and workers brought out processions across the country, chanting the slogan ‘Nouka, Nouka’ (‘boat, boat’)—a reference to the electoral symbol of the AL.

Talking to this correspondent, several AL leaders said they were very happy with the announcement of the election schedule as there is an apprehension among the people of the countrymen centred on the schedule as to whether it will be announced or not. However, with this announcement, the people of the country believe that the next polls will be held in due time.

They said the upcoming general elections will be held on time, and no-one will be able to able to foil the polls. The ruling party’s leaders and workers would be on the streets till the completion of the national polls in a bid to resist those evil forces that try to create anarchy ahead of the polls, they added.

A festive mood is currently prevailing in and around AL president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Dhanmondi political office, centred on the sales of party nomination forms, which started on Friday morning.

AL general secretary Obaidul Quader inaugurated the sale of nomination forms at the Dhanmondi office around 10am by purchasing a set of nomination papers on behalf of party president Sheikh Hasina.

The party has fixed Tk. 30,000 as the price for each set of nomination forms for the general elections. A huge number of leaders and activists of Awami League crowded in and around the party office since this (Friday) morning to collect nomination papers.

The ruling party, however, has not yet fixed the last date for selling nomination forms. It will be decided after a meeting of the AL parliamentary board, insiders said.

Close to 1,000 nomination forms were sold yesterday till the time of the filing of this report.


MK/MK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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