Tuesday, June 25, 2024

One-sided polls to spurt violence

Experts say as AL starts distribution of nomination forms
With the ruling party heading towards holding the next general election even without the main opposition BNP, experts and civil society leaders feel that such a move would escalate the ongoing political violence, endangering the lives and property of the common people. Vehemently opposing the plan of holding a lopsided election, they suggested that the government should start talks immediately by releasing the detained opposition leaders. They also urged the opposition to be responsive to negotiations over poll-time government by shunning the path of violence.
The ruling Awami League (AL), on Sunday, started selling its nomination forms among the aspirant MP candidates for the forthcoming 10th parliamentary elections to be held by January 24.
The process of selling nomination forms started at the party’s central office at 10am. LGRD and cooperative minister Syed Ashraful Islam bought the form for AL party president Sheikh Hasina. The MP aspirants can buy and submit nomination forms at the central office tillNovember 16. The date of selling and submitting forms may be extended later.
Commenting on the overall situation, eminent jurist Rafique-ul-Huq said the ruling party would hurt itself if it goes for unilateral election, keeping the opposition outside. He criticised the government for arresting top opposition leaders without any reason, while they were talking about dialogue.
“Arrest of opposition leaders and dialogue with them cannot go together. It seems that the government is going ahead to hold a one-sided poll. It will set a bad precedent in the country and increase harassment of the opposition,” he said.
Former adviser to the caretaker government, Dr Akbar Ali Khan, said the legitimacy of a one-sided election would get lesser acceptance both at home and abroad. “Holding a one-sided poll will increase the politics of violence and instability in the country,” he said.
He added that the arrest of senior BNP leaders would hamper the environment for talks.
Khan, who is also a leading economist, said reaching to an agreement is the only way to overcome the prevailing situation in the political arena. “There is still time. The government should come forward to initiate talks with the opposition to resolve the political impasse,” he added.
Former election commissioner Brig. Gen. (Retd) Shakhawat Hossain said that questions might arise about the legitimacy of holding a unilateral election. He added that the move would compound the ongoing political crisis and increase violence in the country. “It is a big question as how a big party like the Awami League would benefit out of it,” he added.
Shakhawat expressed his concern over the spread of violence even in remote areas and said it would enhance further if the two parties failed to reach to a consensus.
Badiul Alam Majumder, general secretary of Sushasoner Jonney Nagorik, said people are doubtful if the AL could hold the election. Even if they are able to hold it, such an election cannot be sustainable. Besides, different questions relating to acceptance and voters’ turnout would also arise, he added.
Aspirant MP candidates collected some 678 forms on the first day of selling nomination forms, depositing Tk. 16,950,000 in party fund. Out of 678, 215 forms were collected for the aspirants of Dhaka division, 75 for Rajshahi, 80 for Rangpur, 95 for Khulna, 52 for Sylhet division, 58 for Barisal and 103 for Chittagong.
Since early in the morning, supporters of aspirant MP candidates started gathering at the party’s central office at Bangabandhu Avenue with motorbikes, pick-up vans and buses with banners and festoons in their hands.
The enthusiastic supporters wearing colourful badges and carrying national flags, were chanting slogans of ‘joy Bangla, joy Bangabandhu.’
Talking to The Independent, Mainul Hossain Khan Nikhil, MP aspirant for the Dhaka-15 constituency, hoped that the next general elections will be held in due time under an all-party government, led by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“I hope the party will give me a ticket for contesting in the next polls and the AL-led 14-Party Alliance will win again,” he said.
On the other hand, at least five ruling party activists received minor injuries while collecting nomination forms for Dhaka-4 constituency.
At 2 pm, supporters of Md Awlad Hossain and Shafiqur Rahman Saijul engaged in a clash over collecting nomination forms in front of the party central office at Bangabandhu Avenue.

-With The Independent input

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