Jatiya Oikyafront Convener Dr Kamal Hossain has urged people to bring about a "vote revolution" by exercising franchise, and said December 30 will be another victory day for the nation with the Oikyafront coming out victorious.
"We won in the past, and we will win this time too. December 30 will be another victory day. You will bring about a vote revolution on that day," he said at a press conference yesterday.
The eminent jurist made the call after attending an emergency meeting of the steering committee of the opposition alliance at his chamber in the capital's Purana Paltan.
Calling upon the voters to cast ballots for “sheaf of paddy”, he said, “The symbol does not belong to any party. It stands as a symbol of unity. Cast your votes for this symbol to free the nation.”
He further said the Oikyafront's win in the polls will be a victory for the people, not for any component of the alliance.
"People's ownership of the country will be restored through the vote revolution.”
The people of this country never bowed down to arms, money and power, he said.
"There is nothing to fear. We fought autocrats throughout our life, and we won, not the autocrats. Had the autocrats won, there would have been no '71 and no Bangladesh," observed Dr Kamal, also president of the Gonoforum.
Urging the voters to go to polling centres in groups early in the morning, he said, "You will be able to enjoy freedom if you cast ballots for sheaf of paddy."
If the Oikyafront is voted to power, the administration would work for the people, instead of protecting the interests of any party, he pledged.
Speaking at the press conference, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “The government has already suffered a moral defeat as it is trying to ensure victory by using the state machinery.”
Krishak Sramik Janata League President Kader Siddiqui, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, and Gonoforum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury, among others, were present at the press conference.
Earlier in a written statement to the media, the Oikyafront convener said the election was just two days away, but the level playing field was still absent.
The people expected that the situation would change following deployment of the army, Dr Kamal mentioned.
"But the army's role in the election is totally controlled by the Election Commission," he said, adding that it is difficult to expect an effective role of the army in a "controlled election".
"Yet, we hope the people, who are the owner of the country, will be able to exercise the right to vote in a peaceful environment. The Election Commission has to ensure that."
Otherwise, the EC will have to take full responsibility for all its failures and will be held accountable to the people, warned Dr Kamal.
He further said it seems that the public and the police administration as well as the state machinery unilaterally got engaged in destroying effective democracy in the country by taking the chance of "the EC's bias".
"We should not forget that destroying democracy is tantamount to denying Bangladesh's existence and the constitution."
The Oikyafront convener said there is a “tide of the masses” in favour of “sheaf of paddy” despite numerous obstructions, arrests, attacks, filing of cases, arson, bombing, biased behaviour of the administration, inactiveness of the EC, ghost cases and intimidation.
"Today, the people and the voters are the Oikyafront's main hope. Those, who did not make mistakes in the past, will not make mistakes this time as well."
The people consider voting as a festival, but they were deprived of it after the ninth parliamentary polls, he said.
"We hope that the people, who are now united, will thwart any anti-people blueprint of the government and the Election Commission."
He urged the people to vote for their preferred candidates to ensure their ownership of the country and restore democracy.
"The country achieved independence in 1971 because the people were united. If the people remain united, effective democracy and the rule of law will soon be ensured," he remarked.