Elections will never be free, fair and acceptable under any election commission unless an election-time neutral government is there to oversee the polls, says Fakhrul Islam Alamgir
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said the process of constituting the Election Commission (EC) through a search committee is a deception with people.
“We’ve the experience that the Election Commission through a search committee is formed solely with their [govt’s] people. Secondly, it’s nothing but a deception with people as they [govt] say the commission is formed not by us, but by a search committee,” he said.
Talking to reporters at BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office about the prime minister’s different comments on the next election, EC and BNP, the BNP leader said the current government earlier formed the EC completely with the people of its own choice and used them during the elections.
Mentioning that the current EC, led by KM Nurul Huda, was also constituted through a search committee, Fakhrul said it absolutely played a partisan role in favour of Awami League during the 11th parliamentary polls.
He said elections will never be free, fair and acceptable under any election commission unless an election-time neutral government is there to oversee the polls.
“So, an impartial election-time government is very urgent to hold a fair and credible election. The election won’t be fair even if it is held under the best Election Commission without the government’s cooperation. This is the main crisis,” Fakhrul observed.
On Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the new election commission will be constituted through a search committee to be formed by the President.
“The president will form a search committee and the election commission will be constituted through this search committee,” she said, replying to a question at a press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban.
NP is people’s ‘choice’
As his attention was drawn to the PM’s comment as to why people will vote for BNP, Fakhrul said people have got fed up with the government’s ‘misrule’. “So, people will vote for BNP to get rid of them (AL). They’ve created such a situation in the country that there’s no security of people’s lives and livelihoods. There’s nothing but fear and terror all around.”
He said Awami League had promised to give people rice at Tk10 per kg, but it is now not positive to buy one kg rice at Tk70. “They also assured the farmers of giving them free fertilizer, but the price of fertilizer is now skyrocketing. “People will vote for BNP because they want to cast their vote for those for whom they want to. They’ll also do it for the guarantee of getting jobs.”
The BNP leader said many mills and factories have been closed due to the government’s failure to protect those by giving incentive packages during the Covid pandemic.
“The informal sector has lost capital while employment in the sector has declined. Unfortunately, the government has taken the country to a place from where people now want to get back. They also want to be freed from the grasp of Awami League, Sheikh Hasina and this illegitimate government,” he observed.
Recalling their party’s many successes in running the country and boosting economic progress, he said people will vote for BNP for peace and development.
“The government used to say it has carried out huge development activities and made a lot of progress. If they’ve developed the country so much, then why are they not holding a fair election and sitting with political parties to solve the political crisis? I would like to ask them to hold a fair election under a caretaker government and then they will see whether people vote for them,” Fakhrul said.
He said neither the nation nor the international community has confidence in the country’s current electoral system.
No ‘alternative’ to movement
Fakhrul warned their party together with people will surely take to the streets to realize their demand for holding the next polls under a caretaker government
"The people of this country must wage a movement. People had joined a movement for a caretaker government in the past and they’ll do it again,” he said.
The BNP leader said their party has now only one demand for the restoration of a polls-time neutral government. “We want nothing else.”
No more polls under Awami League
He said their party will neither accept nor participate in the polls like 2014 and 2018 ones. “We would like to clearly say there would be no more elections under the Awami League government.”
Fakhrul said the government should sit with the political parties to reach a consensus over the formation of a polls-time neutral government and an acceptable election commission for holding a meaningful election. “Otherwise, the election will become a farce. “