Dhaka, November 12 (BDNews24): The Bangladesh opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia has threatened to boycott the 2018 parliamentary for the second time if they are not held under a Neutral Caretaker Government (NCG).
The leader of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) told a rally “in Dhaka on Sunday: ” A fair election is not possible with Hasina in power. I tell the chief election commissioner that it’s your responsibility to hold a credible election in the country.”
She reiterated her demand for a ‘neutral government’ for the polls.
The 13th constitutional amendment scrapped the provision of a polls-time caretaker government and paved the way for the election under the elected government.
The BNP has no representation in parliament now after boycotting the 2014 election demanding a ‘non-partisan government’.
It now wants a ‘supportive government’ for the eleventh parliamentary elections due between late 2018 and early 2019.
Ruling Awami League leaders, however, say the elections will be held with Sheikh Hasina continuing to be the Prime Minister.
In her first public address in one and a half years, Khaleda has sent a clear message to supporters and activists that they will not take part in an election under the current administration.
She demanded deployment of the army for the polls.
“Not only that, they should be given magistracy power.”
The former Prime Minister also said that the BNP does not want electronic voting machines or EVMs in the next election.
Khaleda had previously spoken at Suhrawardy Udyan at a rally by the Sramik Dal on May 1 last year. Before that, she spoke at a public meeting in front of the BNP headquarters in Naya Paltan on Jan 5, 2016.
Though Sunday’s rally is meant to commemorate Nov 7, which the BNP celebrates as ‘National Revolution and Solidarity Day’, the party had made it was clear that the event would also address current political concerns.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told the media on Saturday Khaleda would convey an ‘important message’ through her speech.
The rally kicked off at 2 pm and Khaleda arrived at the venue an hour later when supporters welcomed her with cheers.
(The featured picture at the top shows Khaleda Zia leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party )