BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday once again urged the government to place a bill on non-partisan interim government system in the next session of parliament and pass it to create a level-playing field for holding a participatory general election.
“We do not want to wage a movement. You [PM] said you would not budge an inch [from your posi-tion]…Just as when the wind blows and ruffles the hair, the existence [of your party] will be at stake,” she said.
Khaleda’s statement came just a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had said she would not budge even an inch from the constitutional provision on the polls-time government.
Addressing a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan to mark the 33rd founding anniversary of Swechchhasebak Dal, Khaleda said: “Our demand is very small and it is restoration of the caretaker government system.
“Whatever the name is, place a bill on the [polls-time] interim government in parliament and pass it.
“If we do not participate in the polls, with whom will you conduct the polls? A one-party election? People will not accept such an election and it will be resisted.”
The opposition leader spoke for an hour, touching on some points of her party’s election manifesto although she said she would unveil and detail the manifesto later.
Khaleda focused briefly on her plans on rail and road communications, administration, good govern-ance, corruption, power sector, agriculture, manpower, IT and education system.
Regarding the prime minister’s repeated warning against intervention of unconstitutional forces, Khaleda said: “I am not scared of the minus-two [formula]…Why are you repeatedly talking about un-democratic forces? I am in the opposition and I have no power. You and your colleagues have indulged in corruption…If anything happens, you will be solely responsible.”
Khaleda once again said if elected, her party would introduce a new trend of government.
She said people of Bangladesh preferred change in the government after a certain period no matter what a government’s development activities were.
She alleged that no polls under the government had been held in a free and fair manner and that the government had used the administration, money and arms to rig votes.
Regarding Jamuna bridge corruption, she said: “You dreamt of the Jamuna bridge, but you did not want to implement the dream.”
Khaleda said the government feared to leave office as people would not spare her party of the corrup-tion allegations.
Portraying a gloomy picture of the country’s rail communication, she said if elected, her government would introduce “fast” trains on Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet routes. She would also take initi-atives to improve road conditions and the power situation and the education sector.
Regarding the quota system in the job sector, Khaleda said: “We had made some mistakes. But when-ever we come to power we will rectify them. Partisan and worthless people got jobs because of the quota system. We will reshuffle the quota system so that meritorious and competent people get jobs.”
The BNP leader said she would formulate an agriculture policy to prevent arable land from being used for other purposes.
Alleging that meritorious officers had been sacked from the administration, the former prime minister said her government would make the administration partisan-free and establish good governance. “The police will also be freed from politicisation.”
Khaleda alleged that the country’s human rights situation was poor and whoever was talking about it was becoming victims of the government’s repression.
She demanded immediate release of rights activist Adilur Rahman and Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman.
The BNP chief said if a few bloggers had not made defamatory comments on Hazrat Muhammad (sm), Hefazat-e-Islam would not have taken to the streets.
“You have seen they [Hefazat men] did not have any weapon in their hands. Many people were killed but the government claimed no firearms had been used. In newspaper reports we learned that 155,000 bullets were fired. What type of bullets were those that people did not get killed? Streets were stained with people’s blood, but the government said that was the blood of cows,” she said.
Regarding the compensation for the victims of Rana Plaza, Khaleda said: “The prime minister collected huge money but the victims did not get the compensation yet. My question is: Where has the money gone?”
Asking party leaders and activists to make preparations to intensify the ongoing movement, Khaleda said: “The movement has just begun. Programmes of the movement will be announced in future. So, take all sorts of preparation for the movement.”
Swechchhasebak Dal President Habib-un Nabi Khan Sohel chaired the rally.