Govt not rigid on caretaker issue
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the main opposition BNP to call off tomorrow's hartal and said there is still scope for discussion on the caretaker government system.
“We are not rigid on the issue. Come to parliament and if you have any formula, spell it out,” she said in the emergency meeting of Awami League Central Working Committee, at her Gono Bhaban residence in the capital.
Hasina blamed the caretaker government system for the 1/11 changeover and said the undesirable event would not have happened, had there been a political government in its place in 2007.
She said many quarters are making preparations to stay in power for long by creating another situation like that of 1/11 in the country.
The ruling party's highest decision-making body organised the meeting to discuss the latest political developments including tomorrow's hartal and much-talked about caretaker government system, declared illegal recently by the Supreme Court.
The AL-led grand alliance boycotted the January 22 election in 2007 when the then president Iajuddin Ahmed appointed himself the chief adviser to the caretaker government. There had been mass protests across the country following the event, said Hasina, also president of ruling AL.
She said the parliamentary special committee on constitution amendment was formed to strengthen the caretaker government system further by plugging the loopholes in the system. But the apex court declared it illegal and the government now has nothing to do with the issue.
Hasina questioned why and in whose interests the BNP chairperson called the hartal.
Referring to the main opposition's threat to boycott the next election if held under the AL government, she asked who the people were that incited Khaleda to make the threat of boycotting the polls.
Reiterating her commitment to run the country in compliance with the constitution, the prime minister said the Election Commission will function independently and her government will not interfere in its activities.
“We want that the electronic voting machine gets introduced. We don't know why BNP opposes it and what they want?”
Pointing at those who advocate for the caretaker government system, she said there is no guarantee that those who had not suffered during the tenure of the last caretaker government would not fall victim to the system in the future.
The party's programmes on June 7 and June 23 were finalised at the meeting and some AL leaders requested the party president to take steps to hold councils at the party's grassroots levels.
Hasina said the councils will be held immediately after the Union Parishad elections.
AL Joint General Secretary Mahabubul Alam Hanif told The Daily Star after the meeting that the ward unit councils of the party would be held by October, thana and upazila unit councils by November and district councils by February next year.
He also said the party's national council is scheduled to be held in July next year.
Presidium Member Obaidul Quader stressed the need for holding immediate council to Bangladesh Chhatra League, pro-AL student body, which has been running without any council for the last four years.