BNP's 20-point proposal to EC
The BNP yesterday placed before the Election Commission a set of proposals, including dissolution of parliament and a polls-time 'supportive government' to oversee the next parliamentary election.
During the two-and-a-half hour electoral talks, the party also demanded that armed forces personnel be deployed during the polls and provided with magistracy power.
It also urged the commission to create a level-playing field for all political parties and candidates for holding a credible and inclusive election.
“In the current political situation, the Election Commission doesn't have much to do. Still, we are a little optimistic after the talks,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told journalists after leading a 16-member delegation at the dialogue with the EC at the Nirbachan Bhaban.
The party presented a 20-point proposal at the meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda.
In his welcome speech, Huda praised the BNP, its founder Ziaur Rahman and party Chairperson Khaleda Zia for their contribution to the country.
“Multi-party democracy in the country was restored by him [Zia],” he said.
“Many of you [members of the BNP delegation] served as ministers and even as Speaker of parliament. When you were ministers, I got the chance to work under you.”
The CEC also talked about a number of development projects taken up during the three tenures of the BNP-led governments.
“The commission is waiting for today's talks and hopes it will be successful,” he added.
The commission will hold talks with the ruling Awami League on October 18.
The AL has been saying that the next election will be held under the incumbent government in line with the constitution.
The BNP and several other parties boycotted the January 5 election in 2014 on grounds that it was held under a partisan government.
There was a provision of holding polls under a caretaker government but it was scrapped in 2011.
Yesterday, the BNP demanded a polls-time 'supportive government', saying a credible election is not possible under the incumbent government.
Emerging from the meeting, Fakhrul said a credible parliament cannot be established without a credible election.
The government must have dialogue with political parties for holding a fair election under an election-time 'supportive government', he mentioned.
The party proposed bringing amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) for including the defence services in the definition of law enforcers. Members of the defence services should also be given magisterial power at least a week before the polls.
The defence forces had been included in the definition of law enforcers and empowered to arrest anyone on the polling day for violation of electoral laws. But the clause was later dropped from the RPO in 2009. Since then, a number of political parties have been demanding restoration of the clause.
The BNP also said class-I gazetted officers of the EC should be given magisterial power, and EC officials should get priority in the appointment of returning and assistant officers.
Fakhrul said the party demanded withdrawal of cases against its leaders and activists and also release of the detained leaders. It also called upon the EC to take effective measures in this regard.
The party alleged that the administration was heavily politicised, and fair election is not possible in such a situation.
It demanded cancellation of all contractual appointments in the government, autonomous and semi-government organisations
Besides, management committees of all educational institutions should be scrapped and be brought under the control of local administration at least six months before the national election.
The party strongly opposed the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the election.
The BNP demanded restoration of the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies drawn before the 2008 election and also urged the EC to take opinions of all political parties before bringing any change to the boundaries.
It also said a provision should be included in the RPO for allowing candidates to submit nomination papers online.
The party said the returning officers should be given the power to permit political parties to hold rallies and meetings after the announcement of election schedule.
It also suggested that the EC shouldn't issue any circular or seek application from any new political party for registration 12 months before the expiry of parliament's tenure.
CCTV cameras should be installed in every polling station so that returning officers can monitor the agents of the candidates, the party said.
“The BNP wants to believe that the commission's election roadmap will not turn into a farce,” said Fakhrul.
Asked whether they were satisfied, he said, “There is no reason for us to be hopeful, considering the prevailing situation in the country and the undemocratic behaviour of the government.”
Fakhrul said the EC listened to the proposals with great interest and told them that it would play its due role in holding a free and fair election.
“The Election Commission said it has limitations and that the true face of democracy is absent in Bangladesh,” claimed the BNP secretary general.