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Dhaka Tribune

Hasan: BNP looks for excuses to escape polls

Awami League wants all political parties to participate in the next general polls, says the minister 

Update : 16 Jun 2023, 07:25 PM

Information and Broadcasting Minister and Awami League Joint General Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud on Friday said his party wants BNP's full-strength participation in the national election but BNP is looking for excuses to flee from the polls.

He was replying to a question while exchanging views with journalists at his official residence in Dhaka.

About BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's comment that the government is hatching a conspiracy to oust the BNP from the field and lodging cases against BNP leaders and arresting them, Hasan said: "We want that the next general election to be held in a free, fair, neutral, transparent and festive manner with the participation of all parties."

"But the irony is that BNP always flees from polls. Mirza Fakhrul and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed are making such comments to create excuses for fleeing from the elections," he said.

The Awami League joint general secretary said BNP's target is not to take part in elections rather they want to foil the election and make it questionable.

BNP leaders' comments give the impression that they want a guarantee of winning and if they get it, they will join polls otherwise they wil not do so, he said.

"But the people or the government or the Election Commission cannot give them such guarantees," he said.

The minister said people participate in voting extensively even though BNP does not contest polls. It has been proved in the recent city corporation polls, he added.

How many people take part in an election is more important than the number of participating parties, he said.

"But BNP is a large political party. They were in state power. I am requesting them to join the election as we do not want any walkover rather we want victory through a battle of votes," he said.

There are cases against BNP leaders for ordering and financing arson terrorism, he said.

The government cannot initiate cases, he said, adding that when the term of the High Court's stay order ends, cases get reinitiated automatically as per the court rules.

In that way, some cases have been reinitiated, he mentioned.

By carrying out arson attacks, BNP had killed innocent people who did not have any link with politics, he said.

Noting that these are crimes against humanity, the minister said justice should be ensured in these incidents.

"People want justice. Family members of victims and those who had received injuries in arson attacks have formed human chains and held press conferences to press home their demand that those who ordered and financed arson terrorism should be arrested and brought to justice," he said.

He said actions have already been taken against those who were directly involved with arson terrorism.

But, steps are yet to be taken against those BNP leaders who ordered and financed the arson attacks, he said.

As the people demand justice, the government has the responsibility to take measures against the offenders, he added.

Replying to a question about BNP's call for movement after Eid, Dr Hasan said BNP often makes such comments.

Before the Eid-ul-Fitr, BNP also made such calls and now they are saying that they will wage a movement after Eid-ul-Azha but the question is - whether the movement will be after Eid of this year or next year.

Asked about BNP's allegations against Awami League-centering mass media, the minister said if any party launches repression and torture against media, it must be BNP.

During the BNP's tenure, Humayun Kabir Balu and many other journalists across the country were killed and especially many of those who were free-thinkers had to face torture during that period, he said.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government has taken many outstanding steps for the betterment of journalists, he said.

Journalists Welfare Trust has been established and assistance of huge amounts of money were given to journalists during the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Now, media works very independently and massive expansion of media took place during the AL government's tenure, he said.

He said only 10 television channels were in transmission but now the number rose to 38.

The number of newspapers was 450 which rose to 1,250 and there was no private radio, but now there have been a good number of FM radios and community radios, he said adding that there were a very few online portals and now there are several thousand online portals.

In that way, massive expansion of media took place and it has been possible because of the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said.

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