BSS-30 PM welcomes new political platform ahead of election

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BSS-30

PM-PRESS-LEAD

PM welcomes new political platform ahead of election

(ADDs details)

DHAKA, Sept 2, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today welcomed the
emergence of a political alliance ahead of the upcoming elections expecting
it to be contested by all political parties.

“I welcome their unity as opponents of Awami League should have a strong
platform,” she told a press conference referring to the newly formed grouping
under the leadership of Dr Badrudowza Chowdhury, Dr Kamal Hossain and others.

Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, added that her party
“wants a good opposition alliance so that we can contest in the election”.

The premier said the top figures of the new alliance in the past hatched
designs against incumbent government but “yet we welcome their initiative”
against backdrop of the country’s two-party system.

“We (however) want that their unity will not be aimed to foil the election,
but jointly contest in the polls,” she said.

The press conference was held at the premier’s Gonobhabna residence a day
after her return from Nepal attending the 4th BIMSTEC Summit while the issues
of electronic voting machine (EVM), imprisonment BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia
and Rohingyas prominently featured the question-answer session.

Sheikh Hasina favoured limited use” of EVM in the next general elections as
the system still required more experiments before its nationwide introduction
for voting.

“Different countries hold their elections using the EVM . . . but the
system must not imposed in a haste as it is a matter practice,” the premier
said.

But, she said, BNP was entirely opposed to the EVM use as it would bury
scopes to stuff ballot boxed with false ballot papers as per their design.

Sheikh Hasina said political parties, which were habituated in manipulating
votes now appeared loud against polls rigging.

“The next elections undoubtedly will be free and fair as we don’t do
politics to snatch peoples voting rights . . . we will retain power if people
give us vote, otherwise not (and) I’m saying this from my belief,” Sheikh
Hasina said.

The premier said nobody in the country was powerful enough to foil the
election as the process was the only means to take forward the country “and
people now know it well that their development is possible under the
democratic system alone”.

She, however, said conspiracy appeared to be a phenomenon in Bangladesh
where Father of the Nation was killed and “repeated attempts are being made
on my life as well”.

Sheikh Hasina said a vested quarter is always active to push the country to
undemocratic rule. In that case they get importance and opportunity to enjoy
a slice of the state power.

She said this quarter launched a campaign to foil the 2014 general
elections as a number of candidates were elected unopposed.

But she recalled that one of the proponents of that campaign Dr. Kamal
Hossain himself was elected unopposed from a constituency which was left by
Bangabandhu.

Replying to a question the prime minister said she agreed with a an opinion
which demands the conspirators of Bangabandhu killing be exposed to trial
along with the killers.

She said many studies and researches were carried out abroad on the August
15 carnage which will come into light one day.

Asked for comments on BNP’s demand for their imprisoned leader Khaleda
Zia’s release, the premier said political grounds did not send her to jail
and rather “she (Khaleda) is in prison for plundering orphans’ money”.

She said the incumbent government did not bring the charge against her and
rather the previous caretaker government “led by her (Khaleda) favorites
Fakhruddin and Moinuddin sued her”.

If, the premier said, BNP wanted to get her released they must do so
through the court but reminded the party that she was faced with several more
cases.

“(Yet) if they want her immediate release, she (Khaleda) has to appeal to
the president,” Sheikh Hasina said.

The premier said BNP lawyers lingered the proceedings of the case for long
10 years, but her lawyers could not prove her innocence.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would continue to progress if Awami League
comes to power again and “it would be disastrous for everybody if the people,
who plundered the orphans money, get the scope to return to power”.

“If BNP comes to power, bad days will come back in peoples life . . . I
hope the people are aware of the fact and give us the opportunity to serve
them again,” she dsaid.

The prime minister said Bangladesh would follow the identical procedures
practiced in other democracies where parliamentary polls are held under the
incumbent government, keeping the parliament existing but non-functional
during the election time.

The existing constitutional system has been framed so no vacuum is created
in the governance during the interim period of change of a government, Sheikh
Hasina said.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, Awami League general secretary and road
transport minister Obaidul Quader were present at the press conference,
moderated by premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim.

BSS/AKH/RY/AR/2020 hrs