Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday rejected the opposition leader’s proposal for forming a non-party polls-time government, alleging that Khaleda Zia wanted to take the country backward through her formula.
“A few days ago, I proposed forming an all-party election-time government with elected representatives through dialogue. But she [Khaleda] did not like it … She does not want elected representatives,” said Hasina.
She was addressing a huge rally at Gor-e-Shaheed Boromaidan in Dinajpur town.
“Instead of accepting my proposal, she went back to an old formula,” said the prime minister, reminding the opposition leader that it was now 2013, and her government was “taking the country forward through huge development work”.
Meanwhile, the ruling Awami League yesterday evening postponed its today’s scheduled press briefing to give its formal reaction to Khaleda’s proposal.
AL Deputy Office Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das told The Daily Star that they had to do it due to unavoidable reasons.
However, party sources said the letter BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sent to AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday would be discussed first.
On Monday, Khaleda Zia rejected the premier’s proposal for an all-party polls-time government and pitched for a non-partisan head of government and advisers to oversee the next general election.
She suggested that the AL and BNP each nominate five from among the advisers of the 1996 and 2001 caretaker governments for a 10-member advisory council. This polls-time government will be led by a person respected and chosen by both the ruling and opposition parties.
Khaleda said the advisers of the interim government could be elected the way the president, Speaker and women lawmakers were elected.
The formula came as a counter to the PM’s proposal.
At yesterday’s rally, Hasina, also the ruling AL president, alleged that the BNP chairperson had sent activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, a pro-BNP student body, to kill 1996 caretaker government’s chief adviser Justice Habibur Rahman.
“Now she wants to include those in the polls-time government whom she wanted to kill,” Hasina told the rally organised by AL Dinajpur district unit. District AL President and State Minister for Land Mustafizur Rahman Fizar chaired the programme.
Seeking votes for the AL in the next general election, the prime minister said if the BNP was voted to power, the country would go in the grip of terrorism, militancy and corruption.
She claimed her government had done more work than it had pledged ahead of the last election.
People were now living in peace and security while during the tenure of the BNP-led alliance all they had witnessed were bomb blasts, militancy and corruption, she added.
The prime minister also alleged that Khaleda Zia had been patronising cadres of Chhatra Dal and Islami Chhatra Shibir, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, to destroy the “congenial atmosphere in educational institutions across the country”.
“Severing tendons, hands and legs is the character of Shibir. They can do nothing else,” she said.
Hasina blasted Khaleda for celebrating birthday on August 15, the national mourning day. On this day in 1975, the AL chief had lost her parents and most of the family members.
Senior AL leaders, including Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed and Syed Ashraful Islam, accompanied the premier to Dinajpur and also spoke at the rally attended by tens of thousands of people from across the district.
Another AL stalwart, Tofail Ahmed, termed the opposition leader’s proposal “unrealistic” and “lacking constitutional base”. He urged the BNP chairperson to accept the PM’s proposal to hold the next election in a free and fair manner.
SOUND WENT OFF!
During Hasina’s speech, most of the loudspeakers used in the rally and its adjacent areas went off for at least 20 minutes from around 4:30pm.
This created confusion among the audience and hundreds of them left the rally venue before the PM’s speech could end.
AL Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, lawmaker Iqbalur Rahim and party leader Mahmud Hasan Ripon, among others, spoke at the rally.
During the visit to the district, the PM inaugurated 37 development projects, including the 500-bed Dinajpur Medical College and Hospital, Dr MA Wazed Miah Bhaban at Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University and a rubber dam project on the Atrai River, and laid foundation stones of eight projects, including Dinajpur Education Board office.