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Dhaka Tribune

BNP mulls counter proposal

Update : 19 Oct 2013, 09:52 PM

Main opposition BNP is planning to float a counter proposal for a polls-time government in response to the prime minister’s formula of an all-party interim administration to oversee the national polls.

The issue was discussed in a meeting of the standing committee the highest policymaking body of the party last night at the Gulshan office of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

A standing committee member said the counter proposal was likely to snub PM’s formula as BNP believed an all-party interim government “contradicted” the country’s constitution.

He added that there was no way that the BNP would accept any partisan individual as the head of the polls-time government.

However, the meeting discussed two different views regarding the structure of the polls-time government.

One stream of thought was to accept partisan cabinet members under a non-partisan head; but for that the partisan members would have to step down from their party posts. The other stream was in favour of a fully non-partisan administration. But the party is yet to finalise its proposal.

A BNP standing committee member said party chief Khaleda Zia would hold a press conference tomorrow to clarify her party’s stance regarding the polls-time government and also table her very own proposal.

Another policymaker of the party said the PM’s formula was nothing but “misleading” and an “ill attempt” to foil the opposition’s ongoing movement for a non-partisan interim administration.

Last night’s meeting also discussed hard-line programmes such as hartals and blockades, if the administration foiled its countrywide demonstrations scheduled for today and the mass rally scheduled for October 25, senior party leaders said.

Meeting sources said in that case Khaleda Zia’s tomorrow’s press conference might even be postponed.

The demonstrations came out as a response to the indefinite ban imposed on rallies and gatherings in the capital by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Earlier, BNP was planning for a major showdown in Dhaka by staging a rally on October 25 to press home its demands for a non-party interim government.

As the ruling Awami League also called for a rally on the same day in the capital, DMP, fearing violence, enforced the ban.

The countdown to the national elections begins on October 27 as according to the constitution, the polls must be held within 90 days from that date.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday proposed the formation of an all-party government to hold polls and appealed to the opposition to give names of their lawmakers for the interim cabinet.

After the nationally televised speech, PM’s Adviser HT Imam told BBC Bangla on Friday that Sheikh Hasina would be the chief of the “all-party polls-time government.”

Although Hasina in her Friday’s speech did not clarify who would head the ad-hoc administration, there was recognition of the fact that the opposition did not want her as the chief.

BNP’s key ally Jamaat-e-Islami has already rejected the prime minister’s speech terming it a product of “conspiracy” and a “document of falsehood.”

Andalib Rahman Partha, chairman of BNP’s ally Bangladesh Jatiya Party, said the premier’s proposal was “vague.”

“If this proposal was given six to eight months ago, then there was a scope of discussion. But such a proposal at the eleventh hour is meaningless,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

Former military ruler HM Ershad’s Jatiya Party, one of the key allies of the ruling alliance, Saturday sought clarification about who would head the interim government that the prime minister has tabled in her Friday’s nation address.

Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Krishak Sramik Janata League and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Rob) also rejected the premier’s call saying the nation was “disappointed” by her speech.

Although these three parties have said they would not form any official alliance with BNP-led opposition group, they are reportedly planning to stand on a common platform with the main opposition to pressure the government for installing non-partisan caretaker government.  

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