All-out effort to bring BNP to national election 2023: Hasina tells party
The government will make all-out efforts to bring opposition BNP to the next parliamentary election, slated for late next year.
Besides, the ruling Awami League will participate in the polls with its 14-party allies, said party sources.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the AL chief, said this at a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, at the Gono Bhaban last night.
She also said voting in all 300 parliamentary constituencies will be held using electronic voting machines (EVM), meeting sources said.
At one point, AL presidium member Shajahan Khan wanted to know whether the party and the government would take any initiative to bring the BNP to the next national polls.
In response, Hasina said her party will take every initiative to bring the opposition party to the election, the sources added.
After boycotting the 2014 parliamentary polls, the BNP contested the last general election and also took part in elections to local government bodies with its electoral symbol "sheaf of paddy". But the party recently boycotted local government polls saying that free and fair elections are not possible under the current administration.
At the meeting last night, Hasina said the next general election will be held in a free and credible manner and it would be a participatory one.
She said her government would provide all-out support to the Election Commission to hold a credible election.
The PM criticised some of her party leaders, saying those who are not confident about their win don't want BNP to take part in the national polls.
She also said conspiracies are afoot to make the next national polls controversial. Naming Dr Kamal Hossain of Gonoforum, Mahmudur Rahman Manna of Nagorik Oikya and Reza Kibria of Bangladesh Gono Odhikar Parishad, she said they can do nothing, said the sources.
The AL chief also said 14-party alliance is with her party and it will contest the next general election with the "ideological partners". She asked the party leaders to maintain good relations with the allies.
Hasina also suggested maintaining close relations with friendly countries who, she thinks, would be a factor in the next polls.
She asked her party leaders to prepare for the election and also for the AL's tri-annual conference and advised them to complete all district conferences within December. The tenure of the current central committee of the AL will expire that month.
Talking tough on the party's rebel candidates, the PM said those who contest local body elections against party candidates can't be contenders at the grassroots councils, said sources.
"Election will be held using EVM and it would be a participatory one. Don't think you will win the election only on the party ticket. You will have to win by dint of your popularity and merit," an AL central leader who participated in the meeting quoted Hasina as saying.
The PM's hints at all-EVM JS polls come when Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal several times said they were yet to make any decision about using EVMs in elections and they were studying the system.
Earlier in March when the newly constituted EC sat with civil society members and other professionals, eminent citizens opined that the commission should refrain from using EVMs in polls unless there is consensus regarding the use of the technology.
They also urged the EC to take steps to restore people's trust in it.
UNB reports: The PM in her introductory speech said her party always comes to power through elections, never by the backdoor.
The premier thanked the people for repeatedly voting her party to power.
"Due to this, the country witnessed massive development in the last 13 years, leading to rise in the people's living standards," she said.
The AL chief underscored the need for strengthening the party as the national election is due late next year.
She said her successive governments since 2009 gave importance to developing the rural areas.
"As a result, the infrastructure in rural areas have improved a lot and people could go to their village homes smoothly."
She mentioned that during the Eid-ul-Fitr this year, people could go to their villages without facing hassles. She thanked the road transport minister for this.