The prime minister may accept their letters at any moment, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Tuesday
The resignation of four technocrat ministers will come into effect once they have been accepted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said on Tuesday.
“The prime minister may accept their resignation letters any time now,” Tofail said while briefing journalists after a meeting with Norwegian Ambassador HH Sidsel Bleken at his office in the Secretariat in Dhaka, reported UNB.
Responding to a question about whether BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will be able to take part in the 11th parliamentary election, the minister said: “As per the constitution, a convict cannot contest any election."
Khaleda Zia was imprisoned back in February after being convicted in a graft case.
The four technocrat ministers of the current Cabinet – Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Minister Nurul Islam, Religious Affairs Minister Matior Rahman, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and Posts, Telecommunications and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar – submitted their resignation on November 6 only hours after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked them to.
All of them submitted their resignation letters to the prime minister through the Cabinet Division.
At Tuesday’s press briefing, when a reporter pointed out that foreign election observers and diplomats might not be able arrive in Bangladesh in time for the election – slated to be held on December 30 – due to Christmas and the New Year, the minister said: "There is no bar from our [the government's] side."
The election will be held in a free and fair manner if all the political parties participate in it, he further added.
He also said the Election Commission held the jurisdiction to allow or bar entry of journalists in the polling centres.
Replying to a question on whether the seven-point demand upheld by Jatiya Oikya Front could be met or not, Tofail said: "Even the leaders know all of their demands cannot be fulfilled, which is why they have decided to contest the election."
He said one of their demands included the resignation of the prime minister; however, if neighbouring country India can hold an election under their incumbent prime minister, Bangladesh can as well.
"We expect the election to be held in a peaceful manner, with the participation of all political parties," the minister said.
A total of 4,300 aspirants have collected the Awami League's nomination papers so far, and the prime minister will give them directions regarding election preparations on Wednesday, he said.
Tofail also said a meeting of the ruling party’s parliamentary board was scheduled to be held on Thursday. "The final decisions regarding the nominations will be made in that meeting," he added.
During the meeting with Norwegian Ambassador HH Sidsel Bleken, topics such as Bangladesh's upcoming general polls and trade and commerce between the two countries were discussed.
The minister said 13 Norwegian companies had invested $250 million in Bangladesh till date.