BNP has given a 20-point proposal to the Election Commission for the 11th parliamentary election, with the demand for an independent and facilitative polls-time government as the main prerequisite.
The party, which also leads the 20-party alliance, said they would “soon provide the outline for that polls-time government”, even though it has been carrying out a movement demanding an interim administration for a long time.
BNP has also proposed deployment of army during election, giving magisterial power to the defence services and the commission’s first-class gazetted officials, and dissolving the current parliament 90 days before the ballot in order to create a level playing field for all parties.
The Election Commission held a nearly three-hour-long dialogue at its office in Dhaka’s Agargaon with BNP Sunday morning as part of its roadmap to the next national election, likely to be held between late 2018 and early 2019.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda, four other commissioners and other high officials were present at the meeting while the 16-member BNP delegation was led by Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Briefing the media afterwards, Mirza Fakhrul said: “Our proposals include demands for a supportive government, army deployment, withdrawal of false cases against BNP leaders including Chairperson Khaleda Zia, release of arrested leaders, and bringing an end to killings and forced disappearances.”
Their proposal alleged that the ruling party, Awami League, was the only party at the moment that is campaigning for the election using its power.
He said they urged the commission to take steps to ensure the rights of all the political parties to hold meetings and rallies along with other political activities.
The BNP leader said they also want the commission to play a positive role in having the government organise talks with all parties in order to ensure an unbiased and credible election.
Mirza Fakhrul said BNP was now a bit hopeful about the Election Commission playing a positive role after the dialogue.
The Dhaka Tribune has obtained a copy of the 13-page proposal, signed by Mirza Fakhrul, from the BNP submitted to the commission on Sunday.
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Their other proposals and demands include freeing all levels of the administration from the ruling party’s grasp, leaving officials from police and local administrations with political ties out from election duties, no use of electronic voting machines, reinstating the boundaries of the electoral constituencies to that of before 2008, and amending the Representation of the People Order.
Also, BNP has proposed amending the Conduct of Election rules, Code Of conduct for Political Parties and Candidates and the Registration of Political Parties Rules, and training the polling agents of all political parties on election laws and rules.
They also made some suggestions regarding voter awareness programme, the media, mobile telephone network during polls, and forwarded a number of recommendations to the Election Commission to ensure a proper guideline for local and international election observers.
Regarding the deployment of security forces during the polls, BNP proposed forming a committee in every district and every metropolitan area with representatives from all law enforcement agencies, local administrations and election officials to coordinate and ensure transparency.
The party also called for installing adequate CCTV cameras in every voting centre to ensure proper monitoring of the situation during ballot.
The BNP delegation included Standing Committee Members Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Tariqul Islam, Mahbubur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam Mia, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury.
BNP Advisory Council members ASM Abdul Halim, Ismail Kabiullah, Abdur Rashid Sarkar and Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi were also part of it.
The commission on August 24 started holding dialogues with 40 registered political parties to receive their opinions over its preparation for the next election.
So far, the commission has sat with 32 parties. The dialogue with Awami League is scheduled for October 18.