Hours after party chief Khaleda Zia led a delegation to resolve current political stalemate over electoral process, the party said deadlock continued over demand of restoration of the caretaker government, scrapped last year by the Awami League government through a constitution amendment in line with a Supreme Court verdict.
In the news briefing at the party’s central office at Naya Paltan acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told, "We joined the dialogue knowing it well that it would not be fruitful as the president''s authority (under existing parliamentary system) in very limited. Yet we joined the talks to continue and strengthen the democratic system." He also added, “Restoring the caretaker government was our main agenda. We didn’t discuss anything about the EC.”
"Khaleda Zia told the president that it won't be acceptable to the nation if the process to form a new EC starts before taking the decision to revive the caretaker government system," BNP acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul told the media.
"We urge you (president) to take initiatives to form a fit, impartial and brave EC through a consensus among all parties and create opportunity to do politics for election (taking part in electoral politics) after taking the decision to revive the caretaker government system first," he quoted Khaleda telling Zillur during the dialogue.
“The BNP thinks a free, fair and neutral national election with the participation of all political parties is not possible under a political government,” Fakhrul quoted Khaleda Zia as saying during their dialogue with President Zillur Rahman.
“You (the president) and the prime minister (Sheikh Hasina) also expressed the same opinion in 1995-96,” the BNP chief said in a written statement which was handed over to the president.
The party submitted written proposals and recommendations on EC reconstitution. During the talks with Zillur, the BNP delegation protested the move to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in elections. Alamgir said they brought to fore three shortcomings of an EVM during the deliberations with Zillur. "First, there is no option to recount or examine the results. Second, there is no assurance who (candidate) is getting the vote. Third, the voters are voting in front of election officials, not in an enclosed place (like in case of secret ballot)," he said.
BNP, which had earlier questioned the "motive" behind initiatives to launch a political dialogue saying the "constitution says the prime minister will propose something and the president will just sign it."
Bangabhaban officials and party leaders familiar with the meeting, however, said the talks were held in a "cordial" atmosphere with the president and Zia informally enquiring each other''s personal wellbeing before start of the meeting.
Beside Khaleda ZIa, the BNP delegation were acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members R A Gani, Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Mahbubur Rahman, A S M Hannan Shah, M K anwar, Jamiruddin Sircar, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Abdul Moyen Khan, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan and Goyeshwar Chandra Roy, and chairperson's adviser Dr Osman Faruk.
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