The country’s main opposition party, which is arguing for the release from prison of its chairperson Khaleda Zia ahead of poll, has rolled out a 12-point vision that it pledges to implement when in government
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is hoping to capitalise on anti-government sentiment ahead of the parliamentary election as it bids to win power for the first time in over a decade.
The country’s main opposition party, which is arguing for the release from prison of its chairperson Khaleda Zia ahead of poll, has rolled out a 12-point vision that it pledges to implement when in government. It is planning to add more issues when it will finally unveil its political manifesto for taking part in the parliamentary polls, party sources have confirmed.
The party will try to cash in on different issues where the ruling party’s stance has proved controversial, such as the reformation of the quota system in government jobs and the movement demanding safe roads across the country, inside sources in the party said.The organizers and target groups of the quota reform and road safety movements remain resentful of the actions of the ruling party activists’ during the movements.
BNP is also taking a very clear stance over the Digital Security Bill 2018 that has faced vocal opposition from journalists and rights campaigners. It will also include harassment of journalists during the ruling party government. BNP’s 12-point vision announced on Saturday placed an emphasis on good governance and national unity in politics.
The vision also reflects the party’s thoughts on an independent judiciary, the rule of law in all state organs, strengthening the armed forces, reformation of Anti-Corruption Commission, a friendly policy to maintain international relations, ensuring freedom of media, and the establishment of fundamental rights for all citizens.
The Digital Security Act recently approved by parliament has received strong criticism from stakeholders as they said it could quash freedom of speech, especially on social media, and would undermine responsible journalism. They said it will curb citizens’ constitutional and fundamental rights to freedom of speech.
BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed said if voted to power, his party will annul the recently passed Digital Security Act within seven days.
The law enforcement agencies would avail extreme power using the Digital Security Act, Moudud said.
BNP says it would not allow any act of terrorism within the country. It will make education free up to graduation, introduce health insurance, enhance human resources and increase participation of women in development activities.
If elected, the party will also ensure fair prices for farmers, an adequate supply of power and energy for expansion of industries, business and agriculture, and it will modernize the communication system.
For business, BNP pledges to ensure the development of the RMG sector and a diversified export policy, expanded overseas employment, and risk-free migration.
It will ensure voting rights for expatriates and an unemployment allowance to youths.
According to the Election Commission, around 23.5 million young voters, mostly university students or job seekers registered since 2008, will cast their votes in the upcoming general election, which is expected in the last week of December.
BNP senior leader Nazrul Islam Khan said the party’s prime concern ahead of the vote is to launch movements for the release of its chairperson and for the establishment of a neutral polls-time government.
“We will continue our movement until our demands are met,” he said. “We will work for people and the country, particularly by curbing irregularities done during the current government’s regime.”
“We will not only scrap the Digital Security Act, but also work for establishment of people’s fundamental rights,” he said.
BNP Joint Secretary General Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal said they will have time-befitting issues in the manifesto.
He said: “If voted to power, we will work for citizen rights and different facilities, ensure jobs on the basis of merit, eliminate crimes from educational institutions, reform the quota system in a way that everyone can benefit, ensure rights for all, including safe roads and no harassment of journalists. We will ensure a safe city for all.”
In May 2017, BNP launched its Vision 2030, which promised to bring changes in several government policies, laws and constitutional provisions if the party came to power. The 256-point plan, unveiled by party chairperson Khaleda Zia, has similarities with the latest 12-point vision.
The Vision 2030 aims at annulling a number of controversial laws passed during the current government’s tenure and formulate plans to improve education, healthcare, drug control, law enforcement and other vital sectors of the country.