The Jatiya Oikya Front spokesperson says the platform is in no way supporting Jamaat
In the wake of criticisms by ruling party leaders over his party’s alliance with BNP, Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain has said that he has no intention of contesting in the upcoming 11th national election or holding any post in the new administration.
He said the newly floated Jatiya Oikya Front, which he is leading, is not any electoral alliance as it was formed to ensure a free and fair election.
He has also stated that Oikya Front should not be seen in any way as supporting the Jamaat-e-Islami or any particular leader including Tarique Rahman, the acting BNP chairperson in exile.
Kamal’s statements came at a press conference organized by Gono Forum at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday.
Dr Kamal said: “I’m concerned to learn that our shared efforts to work towards a fair and free election, which could be the basis of a democratic form of governance, have been misconstrued.
“I am happy to clarify – for those who have been making virulent, baseless, and persistent personal attacks on me – that I have no desire to contest in the election, or seek public office.
“I will continue to work towards building a democratic, secular and pluralistic society,” he said.
“Jatiya Oikya Front will continue to work to unite different parties and citizen groups to create a society that will not discriminate on grounds of gender, religion, ethnicity, caste or disability,” he added.
Amid the growing public concern over the next election, Kamal said they engaged in dialogues amongst parties and civil society groups so the nation could reach a consensus to bring about necessary reforms.
“These dialogues have led to the initiative of the Jatiya Oikya Front,” he said.
He said they are now working to mobilize public opinions on a fair and credible election by making visits to different parts of the country.
“If the election is held in a fair and credible manner, it can contribute towards restoring democracy and democratic rule.”
Kamal hoped that there will have no controversy over their party’s initiative to form the Oikya Front through the clarification he made.
Replying to a question, he said mobilizing public opinion is part of Oikya Front’s movement as public opinion will mount pressure on the government to concede to their demands.
The eminent jurist again shared seven conditions for a free and fair election, which included dissolution of parliament and Cabinet, formation of an impartial polls-time government following consultation with all political parties, reconstitution of the Election Commission, discarding of electronic voting machines.
Asked what programs they may take if the government does not accept their demands, Kamal said they will think about it deeply and then work out suitable programs.
He said Oikya Front may send a letter to the government urging it to engage in talks over the next polls before announcement of the election schedule.
On August 20, Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain extended his support to Jukto Front former president Dr AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury to forge an alliance of greater unity in the interest of the nation.
Later, the Jatiya Oikya Front was formed on October 13, with BNP, Gono Forum, Nagorik Oikya, and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab) in it.
The new alliance, however, does not include Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh which had first brought the aforementioned four parties together to form an anti-government opposition ahead of the national polls.
Bangladesh National Awami Party (NAP) and National Democratic Party (NDP) also joined the coalition.