EC plans dialogue with political parties from Sunday

BNP insistent on non-partisan polls-time government

The Election Commission (EC) will begin dialogues with the political parties from Sunday to seek their suggestions on making the upcoming 12th parliamentary polls participatory.

All major political parties, except for the BNP, say they will participate in the dialogue, but have yet to set an agenda. 

Earlier this month, 11 out of the 39 registered political parties, including the BNP, did not respond to the EC’s invitation to discussions about the electronic voting machine (EVM) issue.

However, the EC said that it would invite all registered parties every time a dialogue is organized.

The BNP did not join any discussion on the formation of the EC and the dialogues organized by the new commission, led by former bureaucrat Kazi Habibul Awal. The party also refrained from participating in the local government elections held under the commission.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune yesterday, BNP Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam Khan said: "We want to participate in the general elections under a non-party caretaker government.

“So, we will consider only if we get such an invitation. Otherwise, there is no point discussing any other issue with this government.”

On the other hand, Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said: "The issue has not been discussed in the party forum. We will discuss it at the next working committee meeting and will follow the instructions of our party chief."

Workers' Party of Bangladesh chief Rashed Khan Menon hoped that the EC would hold a series of meaningful dialogues with the political parties.

“We haven’t decided on any specific demand to be raised at the dialogue on July 21,” he told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader, who is deputy leader of the opposition in parliament, said the party would decide its agenda at a meeting of its highest policy making body.