[Dhaka Correspondent] Election Commission Monday sent invitation to Saifur Rahman-led faction of BNP for dialog on electoral reforms endorsing the October 29 decision of party standing committee members.
EC did not take into cognizance the latest letter from BNP’s Khandaker Delwar-led faction that explained the illegitimacy of the October 29 decision.
“Considering the decisions of the October 31 [actually: October 29] meeting of BNP national standing committee as appropriate, the commission unanimously decided to invite the acting secretary general of the party Hafiz Uddin Ahmed to take party in dialog with the commission scheduled for November 22,” Humayun Kabir, secretary of EC secretariat said while reading out the decision of the commission to newsmen.
Six members of the standing committee and expelled secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan had a meeting at Saifur Rahman’s Dhaka residence on October 29, labeling it as a meeting of the standing committee held as per the doctrine of necessity.The meeting made M Saifur Rahman acting chairperson and M Hafizuddin Ahmed acting secretary general.
EC secretary said that the commission took the decision after examining party’s constitution and the letters on the appointment of Khandaker Delwar Hossain as acting secretary general expelling Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan from the BNP, another terming the expulsion as illegal, and yet another on the decision of the standing committee meeting.
EC in its resolution did not mention anything about the last of the letters given by Khandaker Delwar Hossain’s faction to the commission stating that the meeting led by Saifur Rahman on October 29 was illegal according to the party’s constitution. A delegation of BNP led by party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s adviser ASM Hannan Shah Sunday submitted the last letter to the CEC explaining why the standing committee meeting was illegal.
EC statement pointed out that BNP chairperson considered only one side of the provision while taking her decision in removing Mannan Bhuiyan, “It appears that chairperson had taken a part of the clause of the party constitution into her cognizance while talking the decision and ignored the other portion of the same clause of conducting a personal hearing. The commission thinks Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan was deprived of ‘natural justice’ in such process.”
EC, on Mannan Bhuiyan’s expulsion, considers that according to the party constitution, approval of the national standing committee should have been taken immediately. The statement said that EC considers that the obligation was met by the presence of seven of the 14-member standing committee meeting on October 31 [actually:October 29].
“As three of the members are now detained and another member has expired, the attendance of seven members ensured the quorum for holding the meeting,” the commission observed.
BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, expelled secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and joint-secretary general Ashraf Hossain the day before she was detained on September 3, for their “involvement in activities against the party.” The same day she appointed Khandaker Delwar Hossain the new secretary general. BNP on September 5 sent a letter to EC informing it about the latest changes in the party hierarchy. It also said the commission should contact the new secretary general for any official purpose.
On the other hand, the group led by Mannan Bhuiyan in a letter to the CEC on September 9 described Khaleda Zia’s action [expulsion of Bhuiyan and Ashraf] as a violation of the government restrictions on political activities. By the same token, they questioned Delwar’s appointment as the secretary general and requested the EC to make all correspondence with Bhuiyan.
After the October 29 meeting, another letter signed by Hafiz Uddin Ahmed sent the EC resolution of the October 29 meeting which named Saifur Rahman and Hafiz Uddin Ahmed acting president and secretary general respectively. The meeting also did not approve the expulsion of former secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan.