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Razzak says people confused about next polls PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Awami League presidium member Abdur Razzak on Saturday said that the people of the country were confused about the holding and credibility of next general elections.

He urged the government to keep its pledge to hold the polls as per the announced roadmap before the people lose their patience. 'People have confusion over holding of the next election.

They are also having questions whether the polls, if held, will be free and fair,' Razzak said at a discussion meeting on 'free, fair and neutral elections, dialogue and restoration of democracy.'

Peshajeebee Samannaya Parishad, a platform of professionals, organised the meeting at the National Press Club conference room, where leaders of different political parties, professional bodies and socio-cultural organisations demanded specific date for the next elections.

'Although the political parties are waiting for the elections, we are not sure how long they will keep patience,' Razzak said. He criticised the government for inefficient handling of the market and failure to arrest price hike of essential commodities, and suggested that power should be handed over to experienced representatives of people as early as possible.

Another presidium member of Awami League Tofail Ahmed said that the prolonged tenure of the interim government would help the people judge its performance and compare it to that of political governments.

'The people started to change their views regarding the performance of the government in the last one year. If you (government) want to stay more —well, the people will then understand who are more capable of running the government,' said the former commerce and industries minister, adding that politicians still have patience.

'There is no scope to hold any elections before the parliamentary polls under the interim government,' Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon said. Election Commission could initiate the fresh demarcation of constituencies one year back if it was so important, he said.

Menon opposed the idea of forming a truth commission to favour the corrupt suspects. Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta demanded trial of president Iajuddin Ahmed and former prime minister Khaleda Zia for creating a situation that led to delay holding national elections far beyond the 90-day timeframe allowed by the constitution between two parliaments.

'The political disaster was created in the country due to the faults of the president,' Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president Hasanul Haq Inu said, urging the government to remove all barriers to the implementation of election roadmap.

Communist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim said that the people of the country must not be punished for the misdeeds of some corrupt politicians. 'You (government) punish the corrupt politicians. Do not obstruct people's right to democracy,'

Selim said. 'I urge the people to form a greater national alliance to strengthen the democracy in the country,' Awami League acting general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said. Jatiya Party presidium member GM Quader urged the political parties to hold inter-party dialogues before sitting with the government so that they could take a common stand against any illogical decision of the government.

Liberal Democratic Party leader Ziaur Rahman Khan said that the EC should immediately announce a roadmap specifying the schedule for the elections. Bikalpadhara Bangladesh secretary general Abdul Mannan, Ganatantri Party president Nurul Islam, Supreme Court Bar Association president Amir Ul Islam, recently released four Dhaka University professors — Sadrul Amin, Anwar Hossain, Harun-or-Rashid and Nim Chandra Bhoumik —, professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote general secretary Golam Quddus and teachers' leader Kazi Farique Ahmed addressed the meeting, among others.

The speakers demanded specific election date and arrangement of the proposed dialogue between the government and political parties by February.

Earlier, Parishad leader Chowdhury Khalekuzzamam presented a keynote paper demanding stoppage of demarcation of constituencies, disqualifying war criminals from polls and withdrawal of the state of emergency immediately.

Parishad coordinator Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury protested the government's restriction on live telecast of TV talk shows.

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