12:00 AM, January 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:31 AM, January 06, 2019

Crack in Oikya?

Gonoforum MPs-elect likely to take oath

Two lawmakers-elect of the Gonoforum may take oath and join the 11th parliament, Dr Kamal Hossain said yesterday. 

"We've rejected the election, but the way our two candidates came out successful in such an election through competition is their big achievement. So, we're thinking positively about sending them to parliament," said the Gonoforum chief.

He was addressing a press briefing at Bangladesh Shishu Kalyan Parishad after an extended meeting of the party.

Later, Gonoforum leader Sultan Mohammad Munsur, who was elected from Moulvibazar-2, told this correspondent that he and his party colleague Mukabbir Khan, elected from Sylhet-2, will take oath as lawmakers of 11th parliament.

Gonoforum is a key component of the Jatiya Oikyafront, which earlier had termed the parliamentary polls a farce and demanded the Election Commission immediately hold a fresh election under a nonpartisan interim government.

“We reject this so-called result. At the same time, we demand fresh polls under a nonpartisan government,” Dr Kamal, also convener of the Oikyafront, told the press hours after the polling was over at 4:00pm on December 30.

The BNP, another major component of the Oikyafront, said the next day that its leaders elected in the 11th parliamentary polls will not take oath as they have already rejected the results.

The party took the decision at a meeting of its standing committee alleging various irregularities and violations, including ballot stuffing and ouster of opposition polling agents, from voting centres.

Contacted yesterday, Mirza Fakhrul refused to make any comment on the Gonoforum's latest position.

“I am in Noakhali and I am not aware of any such decision. That's why I don't want to make any comment on this,” Fakhrul told this correspondent.

Another Oikyafront leader Mahmudur Rahman Manna, who is also coordinator of Nagorik Oikya, told The Daily Star that the alliance leaders will sit at 11:00am today to decide whether its MPs-elect will take oath.

This is the first time any Gonoforum leader won in the national election since formation of the party in 1999. 

At yesterday's briefing, Dr Kamal said the two leaders of the party can play a positive and meaningful role in parliament after taking oath.

“If others think it won't be possible for them to play a good role in parliament, they may take a decision in line with that thinking.” 

In reply to a query, Dr Kamal said he thinks it will not create any problem with the BNP if the two MPs-elect take oath.

“I think the Jatiya Oikyafront will remain intact to create pressure on the government,” he said.

“We've formed the Oikyafront so that we can realise our demand for a free and fair election. We believe that if Oikyafront functions effectively, we'll be able to mount pressure on the government over the election and force it to discharge its duties obeying laws.”

The Gonoforum chief said that in principle, the party is in favour of keeping the unity and will take a positive decision in this regard after discussions.

He added that the Oikyafront has kept its movement on and it may be intensified further in the days to come.

Replying to a question, he said they may move the court over the election if they get the evidence of serious Electoral fraud.

In the December 30 polls, 280 candidates of Oikyafront and BNP-led 20-party alliance ran with BNP's electoral symbol “sheaf of paddy”.

The Oikyafront managed to win only seven seats and two of those were bagged by Gonoforum candidates.

The AL-led grand alliance secured 288 seats. JP, a key component of the alliance, bagged 22. Independent candidates got three.

The election in Gaibandha-3 constituency was rescheduled for January 27 following the death of a candidate, and re-polling will take place in three centres in Brahmanbaria-2 on January 9.

Gonoforum leader Mukabbir Khan had initially quit the race as he was denied nomination from the Oikyafront.

The alliance nominated missing BNP leader Ilias Ali's wife Tahsina Rushdir Luna. But she lost her candidacy following a High Court order.

It then called back Mukabbir to contest in the election as BNP candidate. He contested the polls with Gonoforum's electoral symbol “rising sun”.

Munsur won from Moulvibazar-2 with BNP's symbol “sheaf of paddy”. 

On October 13, BNP and three other political parties formally launched an alliance called Jatiya Oikyafront, around two months before the national election.

The alliance unveiled an 11-point goal and promised to bring sweeping reforms in governance system if voted to power.

Three other components of the alliance are Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) led by ASM Abdur Rob, Manna's Nagorik Oikya, and Krishak Sramik Janata League led by Kader Siddique.

Rob and Kader could not be reached for comments.

At yesterday's briefing, Gonoforum General Secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu in a written statement described the way the December 30 election was manipulated and rigged.

So, he said, those declared winner by the Election Commission were not actually “elected”.

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