4-party rejects govt's plan on emergency
The BNP-led four-party alliance last night dismissed the government statement on the state of emergency and their seven-point demand as confusing and unacceptable.
"It is not clear what he [Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman] wanted to mean," BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain said while talking to reporters at a press briefing held between two sessions of a close-door meeting of four-party alliance leaders. The meeting was held at the BNP chairperson's office in Gulshan.
Delwar termed Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman's statement "an irresponsible statement made by one holding a responsible post."
With BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the chair, the meeting started around 8:00pm and went on for about an hour and a half with a brief recess. After briefing reporters the four-party leaders resumed their meeting.
The four-party alliance leaders talked about not contesting the December 18 elections with their seven-point demand unfulfilled, meeting sources told The Daily Star.
"We think the elections will be a stage-managed election and we cannot participate in this," Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) Chairman Andaleev Rahman Partho told The Daily Star after the meeting.
"It does not make any sense," said a source quoting Khaleda Zia as saying in the four-party meeting about Zillur's statement.
"She, however, directed alliance leaders to prepare for the elections," said another source who attended the meeting.
"We want complete withdrawal of the emergency without any delay but the government is not acting accordingly to our demands," Delwar said at the briefing.
"It is totally unacceptable. He [Hossain Zillur] had talked about meeting our demands earlier but as of now they [the government] have not fulfilled any of our demands," Delwar said.
The BNP secretary general said they would have announced right then their decision to participate in the polls if the government fulfilled their seven-point demand.
Earlier, at a hurriedly called press briefing at the Chief Adviser's Office, Hossain Zillur read out a statement saying the government is considering further relaxation of the Emergency Power Rules, 2007 after finalisation of the candidates' nomination.
"If the environment for election emerges, a total withdrawal of the emergency rules is also being considered," the statement said.
"All components of the four-party alliance are keen on contesting the elections but the elections have to be free and fair," Delwar said.
"Many of our prospective candidates are still behind bars. We demand that the government allow people who have been convicted by the special courts to contest the election," Delwar said.
"Necessary changes were not brought to the RPO… cases against our leaders were not withdrawn, which are our demands," he said.
"The provision of announcing poll results by presiding officers have been withdrawn which we think is aimed at manipulating the election results," he claimed.
Awami League (AL) presidium member Matia Chowdhury yesterday declined to comment on the government statement, saying the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC) would take a decision in this regard.
Contacted, she noted that the ALCWC at its latest meeting took a resolution demanding complete withdrawal of the state of emergency before the national election.
The meeting also demanded holding of the election on December 18 as scheduled and deferral of upazila election by a 'logical' period of time.