Formation of a neutral government dissolving the current parliament before the national polls is a must for a free, fair and credible election, AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury said yesterday.
For a peaceful voting, the president of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh demanded deployment of army with magistracy power at least for 40 days before and after the election.
He also demanded an impartial role from the Election Commission (EC) in the polls, saying the government had no other alternative to ensuring this if it wanted to hold a fair election.
Badruddoza, also the chairman of Juktofront, placed the demands at a roundtable on democracy and justice organised by the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) at the Jatiya Press Club.
At the programme, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain, Nagorik Oikya Convenor Mahmudur Rahman Manna and JSD President ASM Abdur Rob expressed solidarity with the demands.
They urged all political parties in the country to get united to realise the demands.
“Along with the people of the country, we will compel the current government to hold a fair election under a neutral government,” said Badruddoza, who is a former president.
“No dictator survived for a long time. We will not allow another dictator to grab power after the ousting of one. We are with them who are with democracy, but not with the anti-liberation forces,” he said while speaking as the chief guest.
Dr Kamal, also an eminent jurist and constitution expert, said the expected good governance would be ensured if people could vote properly.
Expressing confusion over holding of the general polls, he said, “Now our duty is ensure voting ...
“All autocrats claim to be democrats .... We don't want it. We want a real, people-friendly democracy where people will have control over the state and can elect eligible candidates,” he said.
“As per the constitution, citizens are the owners of the state. No individual, inheritably, owns the state and nobody will do that in future,” he added.
He also said that people's political identities and ideologies may differ, but they should remain united for basic issues, including restoration of democracy.
Citing a recent survey of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Mahmudur Rahman Manna termed law enforcement agencies, especially police and Rab, the most corrupt institutions of the country.
“It is now a fact that police are the most corrupt [in the country]. The government is now trying to control everything with this police,” he said.
Manna then raised questions about the EC's recent decision to introduce Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the upcoming polls, asking why the commission suddenly wanted to introduce EVM in 100 constituencies.
“They are all looters. They have looted crores of taka and it is another project for looting. Through this, they will loot money and vote at the same time,” he said. “We want fair voting under a neutral government and dissolution of the current parliament.”
He also said four to five members of a law enforcement agency went to his house on Friday night and wanted to talk to him, which made him panicked.
ASM Abdur Rob threatened that the government would have to face “worse consequences” if any activist or leader of Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, a citizen's platform, was harassed by law enforcers or the the government.
“We will come to the streets if they are harassed. You may arrest us, but we don't care,” said Rob, addressing the government. “We will continue our protest to topple the autocrat.”