Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon yesterday alleged that people could not vote in the December 30 parliamentary polls.
“Although I was elected in the election, I am testifying that people couldn’t cast their votes in that election. They couldn’t vote in the union parishad and upazila parishad polls,” he said.
The lawmaker was addressing a conference of the party’s Barishal district unit in Barishal city. Workers Party is a component of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance.
Meanwhile, speaking at another programme in Natore, AL presidium member Mohammed Nasim yesterday said there would be tough elections in future and the leaders would have to be elected with people’s votes.
In Barishal, Menon reminded the audience about the movement before the national polls in 2008. “Sheikh Hasina and I jointly waged a movement during the tenure of the Aziz commission [former chief election commissioner MA Aziz], demanding cancellation of a fake voter list which contained names of 1.10 crore false voters. Why again the people of the country couldn’t vote in the union parishad, upazila parishad, and Jatiya Sangsad elections?”
Blasting the incumbent government, he said development does not necessarily mean snatching of democracy, curbing freedom of speech, squeezing dissenting voices and reducing the space for democracy.
Referring to the recent drive against illegal casinos, the Workers Party chief said although the government was arresting owners of casinos and corrupt people, the “main areas” of corruption still remained untouched.
Menon, who was the social welfare minister in Hasina’s previous cabinet, said he was not aggrieved and that he did not have any regret for not being included in the current cabinet.
“I took part in the previous elections with the Awami League’s electoral symbol ‘boat’ in the interest of the 14-party alliance. But next time I will contest an election with the Workers Party’s electoral symbol ‘hammer’,” he said.
‘DRIVE DAMAGING AL’
Speaking at an extended meeting of Natore district AL at a college in Natore town, Nasim said the ongoing “correction drive” was causing damages to the AL.
“This drive is not bringing anything good for the party. It is rather damaging the Awami League. People are thinking what has happened to Awami League.”
The government has been conducting a drive against illegal casinos since September 18 and many termed it a “correction drive”.
Nasim said there are some benefits if a political party remain in power for a long time. Many development activities are carried out due to this.
“But there are some negative sides of it also. We are facing it now. People start to feel proud, distrust grows among the party men, and many dishonest people join the party,” he said.
Addressing the programme, AL Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak said leaders who did not support party candidates in elections would face the music.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury urged the party men to refrain from creating grouping among the AL and lobbying for party posts.
Our Natore correspondent contributed to this report.