Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has dismissed the conditions the BNP announced for its participation in the upcoming general election.
Bangladesh will not agree to any provisions before it holds an election, the Awami League leader said.
Quader described the BNP’s announcement that it would boycott the election again unless Khaleda Zia was released from jail as just ‘cacophonous noise’.
“It stinks of conspiracy. We hear hints of violence and sabotage in these words.”
“Bangladesh will not hold a conditional election,” he said. “The election will be held according to the constitution. There is no need for further conditions.”
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir had put forward several conditions for the election during a rally in Dhaka’s Nayapaltan on Friday to demand the release of Khaleda.
“The first thing that must happen if Bangladesh is to have an election is the release of Begum Khaleda Zia,” he had said. “No election will be held while she is still in jail. The people of this country will not allow it.”
He also raised demands for the government to step down ahead of the elections, for parliament to be dissolved, the reformation of the Election Commission and the deployment of the military.
“Until now we have heard that they would go to the polls regardless of the situation,” said Quader on Sunday. “Now they have started singing a different tune, saying they will not participate without Begum Khaleda Zia. They say they will boycott the elections.”
If the BNP is hatching a conspiracy, it will be opposed by the people, said Quader.
“We are quite confident,” he said. “There will not be a repeat of what happened in 2014. That will not be allowed.”
“They are trying many things – latching onto the quota movement, trying to use Lord Carlisle to exacerbate relations with India. Even now many are plotting and scheming from abroad.”
Asked whether any initiative would be taken to bring BNP to the polls, Quader responded:
“Whether the BNP will contest the polls is for them to decide. I have repeatedly said one thing – an election is not a gift, it is not a matter of the charity of the ruling party, it is the BNP’s right.”
“Why will the government beg and plead with them to bring them to the polls?”
“The Election Commission has sat for a dialogue. They have spoken to the BNP. We are not involved in that. The Election Commission will decide if further talks are necessary. There is no situation across the country requiring us to sit for more talks.”
Quader said the Awami League had instructed its activists to ensure a free and fair election, bdnews24 reports.
“We have told our activists not to break the Election Commission’s code of conduct. We want a peaceful and fair election. The prime minister has issued a statement saying that there should be no allegations against the election.”