Minister of Commerce and Industries Tofail Ahmed stated that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will have no choice but to participate in the next elections under the incumbent government.
He said: “Write it down – Khaleda Zia will be participating in the election under the supervision of Sheikh Hasina's government. There is no other way for her to run in the elections.”
He made the comments at the Secretariat on Wednesday after exchanging Eid greetings with his colleagues and employees, reports the Bangla Tribune.
Minister Tofail criticised Khaleda Zia, saying: “The way that Khaleda Zia has criticised Sheikh Hasina at every iftar party was rude and uncivilized.”
He also said: “In all the countries in the world, elections are held under the supervision of the ruling government. Britain and America held elections under Theresa May and Barack Obama. The Election Commission will supervise the elections and the government will aid them. Sheikh Hasina will be in charge of that government. No one else will be allowed to come in between.”
“Khaleda Zia does not have the power to stop the election. She incited violence in 2014, burned people even, but she was unable to stop the elections. She tried to bring about a military government through civil unrest, but she was unsuccessful. The election will happen regardless of whether she chooses to participate or not. The Election Commission will be in charge of running the elections. The elections will be carried out in a fair, unobstructed and acceptable manner. If the 2014 elections were unfair, how did Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury become the presidents of IPU and CPU?”
When asked about the possible reduction of import duties on rice, he said: “After the reduction of import duties, the price of rice will go down Tk6, and its elimination would result in a decrease of Tk9 per kilo. The rice mill owners have stocked up on rice to create an artificial shortage in the market.”
He further added: “The prime minister has spoken to the ambassador from Vietnam. We are expecting the rice shipment from Vietnam to arrive within 15 days. Because of floods in the Haor regions, rice production was a few lakh metric tons less than expected.”