Thursday, May 30, 2024

BNP pledges accountable political system

Khaleda unveils 36-point election manifesto
Shahidul Islam Chowdhury 

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, launches the party’s election manifesto in a briefing at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday. — New Age photo
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, launches the party’s election manifesto in a briefing at the Sheraton Hotel on Saturday. — New Age photo

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, pledged to create a responsible and accountable political system in the country as she unveiled the party’s 36-point election manifesto on Saturday.
She also promised to make Jatiya Sangsad the ‘centre of politics’, amendments to provisions of the caretaker government system in the constitution, independence of the judiciary and the Anti-Corruption Commi-ssion, dealing with militancy and violence with an iron hand and maintaining communal harmony, if her party was voted to power in the December 29 parliamentary elections.
‘The Jatiya Sangsad will be the centre of national politics’, Khaleda Zia announced in the manifesto presented at a simple function organised at a city hotel.
‘We will take the opposition into confidence on all important national issues.’
The incoming speaker and deputy speaker must resign from respective parties before taking oath, the party’s election manifesto says.
It said the parliamentary committees would be formed by the second session of the house and the opposition members would also be made chairmen of standing committees.
‘No political party or alliance will be allowed to boycott sessions. Parliament members will lose their membership if they remain absent for 30 session-days without permission.’
The manifesto pledges to make public the wealth statements of all elected representatives within 30 days after oath.
Members of the house will be allowed to walk out only if such attempts are made on certain important national issues, Khaleda said.
She pledged to hold discussion on the caretaker government system in the incoming ninth parliament and make amendments in the constitutional and legal provisions on the system to make sure that the general elections would be held every five years.
She said the Anti-Corruption Commission would be allowed to work neutrally and independently.
Khaleda, also the immediate past prime minister, pledged to establish a separate secretariat for the Supreme Court for total separation of the judiciary from the legislative and executive branches. ‘The incumbent government ravaged the independence of judiciary by nakedly interfering in its [judiciary] activities’, she alleged.
She also promised to take measures to ensure food security as well as to contain prices of essentials by increasing food production, provide subsidy for agricultural inputs, quality seed, adequate fertiliser and pesticides and power and diesel to genuine and marginal farmers.
The BNP’s manifesto pledges to form a pay commission for government officials and employees, update the labour law and take legal measures so that labourers in the private sector get due pay.
Khaleda also vowed to deal with any attempts to spoil communal harmony with an iron hand. ‘The state will ensure safety and security of all people, irrespective of their religious and ethnic identity, and will cooperate in upholding their constitutional, religious and social rights’, she said.
All-out cooperation will be extended to all international efforts to contain terrorism, she said vowing measures against malicious attempts to label Bangladesh an intolerant, extremist, radical and corrupt country.
She promised to implement the universal declaration of the United Nations on human rights. ‘Human rights were ruthlessly violated during the rule of the present caretaker government’, said Khaleda who was released on September 11 after one year of imprisonment.
She promised to scrap the special powers act of 1974. The act, termed ‘a black law’ by political and civil rights activists, has been used to curb freedom of expression and suppress political opposition.
The local government systems in district, upazila and union levels will be strengthened and made effective through elected representatives, she said.
Khaleda vowed to make the country free from illiteracy in five years. ‘The provisions of forming governing bodies and managing committees in educational institutions will be revised so that these institutions can be kept free from political influence.’
‘We will also take measures so that no child remains out of schools’, she said. ‘All girls will get free education up to graduation level.’
The BNP’s manifesto said quality health services would be ensured by appointing more physicians and providing technical and laboratory facilities across the country.
Khaleda promised to create an atmosphere so that more women could be elected to parliament and they could participate in the decision-making processes at all levels.
‘Women will be given preference in appointment and promotion. They will be involved in business and given loan at lower interests’.
The armed forces and law enforcing agencies will be more strong and organised as they will be equipped with sophisticated weapons and modern technology and training.
Merit, eligibility, expertise and seniority will be counted in appointment and promotion of civil and military administrations.
She said effective participation in international efforts to save the earth from global warming and climate change will be continued.
The BNP chairperson also pledged to take measures to stop intrusion of alien culture, to expand rail and road communication services and construct rural roads and culverts on a priority basis, take permanent measures in consultation with all stakeholders to ensure unhindered operation of Chittagong and Mongla seaports, construct Padma bridge, take steps to introduce science and information technology in all spheres of life, give khas lands to landless, reintroduce social safety net for poorer and destitute section of the society, introduce facilities to encourage expatriates to invest in Bangladesh and invest in local industries.
Public holidays on May 30 [the death anniversary of BNP’s founder Ziaur Rahman] and November 7 [national revolution and solidarity day] will be reinstated, she said.
The party prepared its last election manifesto before the cancelled January 22, 2007 elections but did not unveil it.
Key features of BNP manifesto
* Making Jatiya Sangsad centre of national politics
* Speaker and deputy speaker must resign from party posts, deputy speaker from the opposition, MPs to lose membership for absence for more than 30 days
* Elected representatives to disclose wealth statement in 30 days after oath
* Dealing with violence, terrorism with iron hand
* Tab on essential goods prices by increasing production
* Subsidy for farmers
* Measures against attempts to label Bangladesh intolerant, extremist and radical
* Education sector will remain free of political influence

Courtesy: newagebd.com

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