BNP is yet to announce what its election-time interim government, something it demands as a prerequisite for coming to the polls, might look like.
Party sources reveal that BNP has failed to prepare any outline for the polls-time government, despite the fact that the Election Commission is scheduled to hold a meeting with the party today.
No BNP leader that this correspondent spoke to was able to provide a clear vision of what this election-time supporting government might look like.
According to BNP sources, BNP will take part in the EC dialogue and place several demands, including: ensuring the participation of all registered political parties, redrawing of parliamentary constituencies to ensure equal opportunities for all parties, creating a level playing field, deploying the army during poll time and for a month before the polls.
To maintain law and order and keep the administration neutral in the months leading up to the election, it will demand that the law enforcement and the administration personnel be replaced at all levels. BNP will also recommend amending the Representation of the Peoples Order and strengthening of the EC, ensuring the presence of all the candidates’ agents in polling booths, keeping polling stations unrestricted for foreign observers, and not harassing political party leaders.
Asked about the EC meeting, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told reporters that they will propose what necessary actions the administration needs to take after the announcement of the election schedule.
“We will also propose amending the RPO and introducing new rules for taking votes and holding the polls, and appointing observers.”
Fakhrul said they will not present their framework on an election-time supportive government in the dialogue.
“We will give them an idea about it. We will also say a fair election will not be possible without it. We will unveil our framework later,” he said.
“Free access for all of national and international observers is a must,” he added.
He said that the people of the country will not accept an election without an election-time supportive government.
Asked whether BNP will take part in the next parliament election if there is no supporting government, he said it was not the right time to discuss this.
BNP Vice-Chairman Mohammad Shajahan told the Dhaka Tribune that the election-time supporting government was the main point of BNP’s demands.
BNP is optimistic that the government will accept its election-time supporting government proposal, the leader said.
Shajahan also evaded the question of what would happen if the government did not, and said only time could tell what they would do.
“BNP is an election-based political party and the party does not believe that anyone should come to power in any way other than the election process. BNP will take part in elections,” he added.
A central party leader who wished to remain anonymous told the Dhaka Tribune that the government was trying to sideline BNP in the next elections but BNP was prepared to take part in the election by any means and at any time.
The party’s members were working towards formulating the structure of a supporting government which will be unveiled by the party chief Khaleda Zia, the leader said.
BNP and its allies refused to participate in the national elections on January 5, 2014, saying they would not accept an election without a polls time caretaker government.
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the government has to consider the party’s proposal about the polls-time neutral government in order to solve the political crisis.
The Election Commission on August 24 started holding dialogues with 40 registered political parties to receive their opinions over the EC’s preparation for the next national election likely to be held in December 2018. The EC will hold talks with Awami League on October 18.