Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday that the government would compensate individuals and businesses for any damage or losses caused by hartal in a bid to keep life normal during the shutdowns.
She declared the government decision at a meeting of the Awami League Parliamentary Board (ALPB) at Ganabhaban, party leaders present at the meet told the Dhaka Tribune, requesting anonymity.
Her declaration was in response to suggestions made by senior leaders to encourage shop owners and transportation service providers to run normal operations during shutdowns. She also mentioned that she would personally sit with the leaders of the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, Dhaka Shop Owners Association and Road Transport Owners' Association before the step is officially declared.
The ALPB meeting also discussed various aspects of the upcoming general elections. Hasina briefed leaders during the meeting and said that the polls would be held in line with constitutional requirements. “No one will be given even a hair’s breadth under any circumstances,” a senior leader quoted her as saying.
Following the meet, AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said that if the opposition party opts not to participate in the polls, then it would be a “suicidal” decision. He urged BNP to take preparations for the upcoming general election and participate in talks so that free, fair and credible polls can be hosted.
The meeting was organised to decide on a party candidate for the by-elections of the Naogaon 5 constituency which became vacant after former AL general secretary Abdul Jalil died on March 6.
Ashraf also declared their selection, Abdul Malek, the Naogaon district AL general secretary and sadar upazila parishad chairman. He said, “As per legal requirements, Abdul will resign from the post of upazila chairman before submitting his nomination paper.”
The elections were scheduled by the commission to be held on May 25. The deadline for nomination submission is April 25, scrutiny is on April 28 and candidates will have to step down by May 6.
The meeting kicked off at 8:20pm and party leaders Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, and Tofail Ahmed, amongst others, participated.
Earlier on Friday, the ALPB interviewed 14 aspirants including Abdul Jalil’s widow, Rehana Jalil, and district AL president AKM Fazley Rabbi.