Election will not wait for anyone
The next parliamentary election will be held in line with the constitution and with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in office, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said yesterday.
“BNP leader [Chairperson] Begum Zia said election will not be allowed to be held without the participation of her party. Just wait and see … Election will be held as per the constitution. If you have the capacity to resist, show it. People under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina will resist you,” he said.
Addressing a discussion in the capital's Banani organised by the AL to mark January 5 as the "victory day for democracy", Quader urged the BNP to contest the next elections.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia at a programme on Tuesday said no election would be allowed in the country without them and it would not be possible to keep them out of the polls.
Quader, also road transport and bridges minister, said the next election would not wait for anyone as time and tide wait for none. “The train of elections" will not halt for the BNP, he added.
The AL leader said if the BNP did not contest the next national polls, the party's future would be threatened. “The existence of BNP will be at stake like the endangered species. Their fate will be worse than that of the Muslim League."
Quader also spoke at another programme on the Bangabandhu Avenue on the same occasion.
The last parliamentary election was held on January 5, 2014. The BNP and most other political parties boycotted the polls, terming it “farcical and one-sided”.
As a result, at least 153 lawmakers were elected uncontested in the 10th parliament.
In 2015, on the first anniversary of the election day, violence erupted across the country centring rallies and counter rallies.
The BNP was not granted permission for a rally on that day. Police confined Khaleda to her Gulshan office by blocking the streets around it with sand-laden trucks.
Only the ruling AL men were on the streets, celebrating the day as the “victory day for democracy”.
Khaleda then called for a countrywide nonstop blockade from January 6 in an attempt to topple the government. The blockade continued until the last week of March that year.
At least 95 people were killed and about 1,500 injured in arson attacks on public vehicles during the blockade. Another 45 were killed in “shootouts” with law enforcers, and about half of the deceased were allegedly involved in the arson attacks.