Political leaders called for a consensus among the political parties to ban hartal (general strike) and include such agenda in their election manifestos for the upcoming national parliamentary elections.
The call came at a seminar titled “Upcoming Election: Economic Manifesto of Political Parties” organised by International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) in the city on Saturday.
Hafizur Rahman Khan, president of IBFB and chair of the programme said it should be clearly mentioned in the electoral manifestos that the parties would do politics for the development of the country’s economy.
“Hartal breaks the backbone of country’s economy and that’s why we, the political parties have to build a consensus that we won’t call hartal anymore and include it in our election manifesto,” said Fakir Ashraf, presidium member of Jatiya Party.
Politics can drag a country towards both development and deterioration, said Fakir Ashraf adding that economical development was impossible without practicing healthy politics.
Awami League Presidium member Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin said the government had done a lot to create a favorable environment for the businessmen of the country that helped to alleviate poverty.
“We should boycott hartal, violence and militancy for the development of economy through political consensus,” said Lenin.
Lenin said AL should prepare its manifesto highlighting national issues and revise it on the basis of the experience gathered in last five years.
We should highlight the projects that remained unimplemented so far. AL’s highest focus would be on industrialisation, which is aimed to create new jobs, he said.
Lenin said the ruling party would work on accelerating export rates of Bangladeshi goods.
We should come out from the trend of writing election manifestoes solely aiming to collect votes. Such manifestos may help gather votes but brings no development, added Lenin. FBBCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said country’s business community would decide which party they would support based on the election manifestos.
He said if a congenial environment was provided for business, then we, the businessmen would have led the country towards sustainable development.
“The BNP will prepare the next election manifesto based on country’s context, where businessmen as well as the stakeholders will get priority,” said Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, former commerce minister and adviser to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Rule of law is very important to run businesses smoothly, said Amir adding that cost of business rises due to corruption and high bank interest.
Khasru said we should consider the interest of Small and Medium Emperies (SME) as they contribute a lot to the national economy. He also said there should be a clear policy regarding country’s resources especially natural gas and coal. Local government has to be strengthened for the sake of rural development.
Khasru termed country’s democracy as ‘electoral democracy’ and said through participatory democracy political parties can reach a consensus.
He said the political parties have to create favorable environment for entrepreneurs for sustainable development of the country and shun all forms of violence including hartal.
Dr M Abul Kashem Mozumde, Professor of Public Administration of Jahangirnagar University, presented a concept paper where he suggested including both short and long-term plans in the electoral promises.
He mentioned the parties should adopt long-term plans in areas such as labour migration, export-import, building expressways for connecting Export Processing Zones (EPZ) across the country, women’s participation in SME etc.