Polls without any one party will still be meaningful: JP leader
Wednesday, 02 July 2008


An election without one party participating will not be a meaningless or undemocratic exercise, said a senior Jatiya Party leader Monday.

Following the party's dialogue session with the government, JP acting chairman Anisul Islam Mahmud said: "The idea that the election would not be meaningful if a party does not participate is completely undemocratic thinking."

"We have to change this idea."

"If we cannot change the culture of undemocratic thinking, real democracy can not be established," said the JP leader.

"People do not want to remain hostage to any party," Anisul told reporters at the chief adviser's office.

On the issues raised by the Ershad-led party in dialogue, he said: "We spoke about ensuring the participation of honest and competent people in polls."

"We also presented a number of proposals. Notable among them are steps for bringing balance in the power of the president and the prime minister."

Keeping the price of essentials within a tolerable level, introduction of rationing and inclusion of school teachers and government officials and employees along with rural people under the rationing system, were also among the proposals—as was a speedy decision regarding extraction of gas and coal, said the party leader.

Also speaking at the press conference after the dialogue between the government and Jatiya Party, commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said any doubts raised about the government's actions would be resolved through timely steps and dialogue.

"We have heard of a lot of doubts aired. There were doubts regarding delimitation of constituencies, holding of local government elections, preparing of voter lists. These things have now become clear to all, doubts have been removed," the adviser said.

"Now many are expressing doubts whether the national elections will be held according to the road map. I want to say in clear terms, the election will be held as per the roadmap," he said, stressing that there was no scope for doubt in this regard.

"In today's dialogue also Jatiya Party expressed doubts about the anti-corruption and anti-terror drives. The party alleged that the government has moved away from its earlier position on these issues."

But, Zillur said: "The government's stand is the same as it was before and the government's stand against corruption remains strong."

"The government's stand is that the corrupt cannot participate in the election process."

Asked about the four-party alliance's decision not to go to polls if the government did not accept their conditions regarding the release of Khaleda Zia and sending her two sons abroad, Zillur said: "We want to go ahead taking all with us. I hope that all will participate in the march ahead."

He said: "The process of dialogue is continuing. Dialogue will surely be held on meaningful matters. [The four-party alliance] also want a meaningful election, with the nation moving forward from political uncertainty."

"Our solution-oriented efforts are on-going," said the adviser.

"The two big parties have a role in ensuring participation of honest and competent candidates. The government will create a proper environment for elections, and the other share of the responsibility belongs to the political parties in this regard. It has to be ensured that political parties field honest and competent candidates."

A nine-member JP delegation led by acting chairman Anisul participated in the dialogue. The government side was represented five advisers and the chief adviser.

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