Dr Badruddoza was unable to attend the program, as he fell sick on the way to the Press Club
Dr Badruddoza Chowdhury-led Juktofront and Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya have formally announced the journey of a “greater national unity” to ensure “functional democracy” in the country through holding a credible national election.
Jatiya Oikya Prokriya Convener and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain came up with the announcement at a press conference at the National Press Club on Saturday, reports UNB.
Dr Kamal said: "We the Juktofront and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya are announcing a joint declaration of a greater national unity which will unite the people of all walks of life.
“We'll create the unity at every locality, every village and every house, so that people can get back the ownership of their country.”
Dr Kamal further said: "The greater national unity begins from today (Saturday). I hope our unity will yield a very positive outcome with support from people, and a functional democracy will be restored in the country."
Dr Badruddoza was unable to attend the program, as he fell sick on the way to the Press Club.
However, Juktofront member Secretary and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, on behalf of the two platforms, read out the joint declaration of the national unity a with a 5-point demand and nine targets, including installing an election-time neutral government for holding the next general election in a fair and credible manner.
Earlier, leaders of the two platforms tried to go to the Central Shaheed Minar from the Press Club to place wreaths there before the announcement of the national unity. But they returned halfway through, as they said the Dhaka University authorities asked them not to go there.
Dr Kamal said they will consolidate the unity among political parties and people to make sure the country is ruled by people's true representatives.
He also said: "The true representatives of people can be elected through a fair election. People get deprived of their ownership of the country if the polls are not held in a fair and acceptable manner."
He said parliament must be functional with the true representatives of people through a fair election.
"A unity is necessary so that people can exercise their voting rights without any fear, favour and influence in a fair election to elect their representatives," Dr Kamal added.
Asked whether they will announce any action program, Dr Kamal said: "Today’s announcement for the unity is our program. We'll come up with other programs in the days to come."
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD Rob) President ASM Abdur Rob urged all the democratic parties and individuals get to involved with the national unity process. "We call upon the country's 16 crore people to be part of it."
In the joint declaration, the two platforms said people's rights are being snatched by establishing one person's willful control over the country's three basic organs.
"There's no alternative to forging a greater unity to free the nation from the current situation and restore functional democracy, the rule of law and neutral enforcement of law," the declaration reads.
"That's why we announce to continue our efforts to forge a greater unity with those political parties, social force, civil society members and people who believe in the spirit of the Liberation War to realise our demands and implement our targets through a peaceful and non-violent movement," it added.
The two platforms, however, said they will not include those who are directly or indirectly involved with ant-liberation parties or forces in the national unity process.
Their demands include dissolving parliament before the announcement of the national election schedule and forming an election-time impartial government in consultation with all the political parties; reconstituting the Election Commission with acceptable persons to ensure a free, fair and neutral election; ensuring all political parties' freedom of speech and association; withdrawing the 'false' cases filed against leaders and activists of all the political parties and students who waged the 'quota reform' and 'safe road' movements’; and releasing the political prisoners and not arresting any political leaders and activists until the election is over.
They also demanded deployment of army with magistracy power 30 days before the election and cancellation of the government's plan of using EVM in the elections and amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972, to create a level-playing field for all the political parties.
Their nine targets include ensuring a balance between the power of president and the Prime Minister, empowering people, ensuring the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, reforming the Anti-Corruption Commission to strongly cheek corruption and establishing a positive and balanced politics.