Polls likely by year end
"> Jatiya Party (JP) Chairman HM Ershad meets Awami League (AL) President also Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Gono Bhaban in the capital yesterday to have a clear idea on the latter's proposal for forming an all-party election-time government, which he earlier found to be “vague”. In late August, the chief of JP, a component of the AL-led grand alliance, had said all had to get rid of the present “unsuccessful” government. He had also refused to join any election under the present Election Commission. Photo: BSSThe government is planning to have the next parliamentary election in late December or early January fearing further delays could create political complications.
The Election Commission will announce the polls schedule by the second week of November.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the plan at the Gono Bhaban during a meeting with a 16-member delegation of Jatiya Party led by its Chairman HM Ershad.
Sources said Hasina told the meeting that she would write to the president soon asking to dissolve the ninth parliament and the Election Comission to announce the polls schedule.
After the two-hour meeting, Jatiya Party presidium member Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu told The Daily Star, “She [Hasina] has informed us about the elections either at the end of December or in the first week of January.”
Jatiya Party has agreed to the plan, he said.
After the meeting of the two key allies of the 18-party alliance, Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said Hasina would be the head of the all-party polls-time government, even if the main opposition BNP opposed it.
He said Jatiya Party would compete against the AL in the next election if BNP boycotted the polls; otherwise, the AL-led grand alliance would remain intact.
“Wait … you will see a new government by mid-January,” he said without elaborating.
Replying to a query, Ashraf said they would move forward with dialogue with the BNP after getting the “alternative proposal” from the opposition today.
Awami League chief Hasina at the meeting said her party would talk to BNP to reach a consensus over the all-party polls-time government. She also said there would be no legal complexities regarding the interim government, if the BNP agreed to it.
She said her party would talk to all parties about the polls schedule and would try to ensure all parties, including the BNP, take part.
As per the constitution, the polls must be held between October 25 and January 24, 2014. Initially, the government had plans to hold the polls in mid January. The ninth parliamentary election was held on December 29, 2008.
Secretary General Ruhul Amin Hawlader of Jatiya Party said the political situation in Bangladesh was in a critical state. There was detailed discussion on the participation of all parties in the elections and the formation of the all-party polls-time government, he told journalists.
Jatiya Party leaders Anisul Islam Mahmud, GM Quader, and Kazi Firoz Rashid accompanied Ershad at the meeting.
Awami League leaders Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Zafarullah,
Mohammad Nasim, HT Imam, Alauddin Ahmed Tareque Sidique, Faruk Khan, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Hasan Mahmud and Mrinal Kanti Das attended the meeting.