EC likely to defer poll schedule



E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.

On Friday evening the chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said that the only target of the Election Commission (EC) was now to hold elections with the participation of all parties and he hoped to announce a decision on polls deferral as soon as possible.

‘This [deferral of polls] is an important national issue at this moment. And we will try to resolve the matter as soon as possible,’ Shamsul told reporters when he was asked about the outcome of the discussion with BNP-led alliance delegation of five-members. led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party vice-chairman MK Anwar.

The delegation at the meeting asked the commission to announce a fresh schedule for the general elections setting December 28, instead of December 18, as the polling date and agree to their three point demand: deferral of the upazila polls by a month after the parliamentary elections, repeal of Article 91E of the Representation of the People order to revoke ‘despotic powers’ of the commission to cancel candidature and a complete withdrawal of the state of emergency.

The commission in principle agreed the demand for polls deferral, but it was willing to set the fresh date after discussion with other stakeholders, including the Awami League and the government, said a source in the delegation.

The commission was, however, in a mood to retain its ‘despotic powers’ to cancel candidature, the source said. Withdrawal of the state of emergency is a matter to be considered by the government, he quoted the commission as saying.

A five-member delegation, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party vice-chairman MK Anwar, held the meeting with the election commissioners and discussed their demands. ‘The discussion was friendly and the commission would act fast to decide on the polls schedule,’ Shamsul Huda told the reporters, but declined to give details in the interest of the discussion.

Asked whether the commission will sit with the Awami League and other political parties to reach a consensus on deferral of polls, Shamsul said, ‘Maybe tomorrow.’ ‘Our only priority now is to hold elections with the participation of all parties,’ he said.

The Awami League’s joint general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam, however, told reporters on Friday that the party would make public its position on the BNP’s proposal for national polls on December 28 after the caretaker government and the Election Commission makes their decisions on the matter.

Ashraful also said the Awami League was waiting for the government and the commission’s call to a dialogue and the party would show positive response if it received any proposals for talks.

The BNP’s vice-president, MK Anwar, after the meeting with the Election Commission said they had in details discussed the proposals made by their leader, Khaleda Zia, on Thursday.

The BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia announced on Thursday that they would contest the general elections if held on December 28, instead of December 18, if their three demands are fulfilled.

Asked whether the commission had accepted December 28 as the fresh polling date, Anwar said they could convince the commission about the alliance’s position. “We hope the commission will take necessary steps considering our position.”

The BNP’s joint secretary general Nazrul Islam Khan, office secretary Rizvi Ahmed, Jamaat-e-Islam assistant secretary general Quamaruzzaman and law affairs secretary Jasim Uddin Sarker were on the delegation. Election commissioners Muhammed Sohul Hussain and M Sakhawat Hussain also attended the meeting.


E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.

186 Responses to “EC likely to defer poll schedule”

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    Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    At long last the nation heaved a huge sigh of relief. The ice melted. The long expected meeting of two leading ladies of Bangladesh finally came true at Shena Kunja of Dhaka Cantonment on the occasion of the historic Armed forces day. This day 37 years from now Bangladesh Army was formally launched while still engaged in bloody liberation war against the occupation Pakistan Army and their collaborators in the occupied terriroty.Bangabanhu was in Pakistan Jail waiting to be hanged.Zaiur Rahman was leading “Z” force, Khaled Musharraf “K” force an Shafiullah “S” force in specific war fronts. Hasina and Khaleda were both captives of Pakistan Army in Dhaka and Chittagong respectively. The wheel of history rolled and rotated several time in several gears over these period. Many tragedies gripped the nation.A nation of seventy five and half crores is now over One Hundred and fifty millions. Bangladesh was never and is never a bottom less basket. It had and it has enormous potential and huge unfulfilled dreams. For mere jealousy of the two ladies many contentious issues of national interest could not be resolved.Opprtunists taking avantage of the situation fished water in muddy waters making Bangladesh safe heaven of corruption and terrorism. The failed political leadership could not help sinking their difference.Plotics of confrontation prevailed over politics of development.Almsot civil war situation prevailed due to one front desperate to cling on to power and other grab it by any means. The nation was taken for a ride.1/11 was the eventual outcome. Situation came under control. But the perpetuators of 1/11 indulged in narrow vision base strategy of minus two theory. Vested interest groups Tried to send the ladies on exile failing which they were kept in solitary confinements much to the dismay of their billion well wishers. Opportunist party leaders in the name of so called reforms also joined conspiracy. But nothing worked .Ultimately the love of common people of the two ladies proved decisive. These however do not mean that they were 100% in their role as leader of the government. But the no one is angel in Bangladesh.
    What a pleasant sight that the nation witnessed two leaders met with smiling face exchanged greetings; enquire about welfare of each other. Many of the pressing national issues could be and still can be appropriately addressed if the two ladies appreciate the hard realities and sink their individual ego for the greater national interest.
    Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Begum Khaleda Zia for many different reasons enjoy huge popularity .They led the nation for about 40% of the national life.Acknowleging several mistakes and limitations they also made several positive contributions. They lead two major political parties –two leading fronts. Both of them lost their near and dear ones through national tragedy. There can not be any doubt about personal honesty, integrity of Bangabandhu or freedom fighter Ziaur Rahman. Hasina and Khaleda would not be where they are now if they did not encounter the bitter tragic reverse in their personal life. There may have been divine blessings on Hasina that she is still alive after several attempts on her life. Both of them gained everything in their lives. They have nothing more to gain. Nothing can be sweeter if they can now join hands on common national issues. Look at Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They were hurling fire ball to each other when vying for Democratic Party nomination. But Obama got it Hillary forgetting everything extended her full support during election and will possibly contribute significantly in Obama government as Secretary Foreign affairs. Despite of so many differences Hasina and Khaleda has so many things in common. They must see eye to eye in matters of national interest. They must realise that lot of the unfortunate incidents of national life could be avoided if only they could sacrifice their individual ego. The media world is very active now. It is very difficult to hide failures and do various activities in covert or clandestine manner and go unnoticed for ever. Sooner or later things get exposed and embarrass the mischief mongers. If national treasures are misappropriated through corruption, if national life is poisoned through sponsored terrorism sooner or later the persons or groups will get natural justice.

    Both of them are symbols of party unity. Let them become symbol of national unity. Like traditional democratic countries let two leading lady participate in media debate over national issues. Let the citizens of the country watch them live debating on national issues. Let them make their pledges directly to the ultimate custodians of the country. They may not have the same charisma of Bangabandhu and Ziaur Rahman but they still enjoy tremendous popularity among rank and file. In politics like any game of two parties there will be win or loss in any match. Sometimes there are honourable draws also. But good sporting spirit demands that the defeats and win –both are taken in the same spirit. Experts also say there is nothing called fair or unfair in love or war. Well we do not want love and war in the context of Bangladesh politics .We want fair game contested by all parties. Two bring sanity in the game of politics the meeting of minds of two leading ladies on issues of common national interest is so essential.

    Business leaders, professionals, journalists, artists must play the roles of catalysts to bring the two freedom loving ladies closer. Bangladesh is not a satellite country. It is a sovereign democracy liberated on the basis of the ideals of the libeartaion war. There can not be any difference in matters of agrees pillars of nationhood. We all have to honour our forefathers.Hussain Shaheed Suwarawardy, Shere Bangla A.K.Fazlul Haque, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Moulana Abdul Hameed Khan Bhasani are our national Icons. We all must respect them. All of them were great in their own ways. We must not compare with one another. History has given them special attention and we must leave it to historians to evaluate them. Our liberation war is the culmination of significant efforts of all of them and few unsung heroes. Let Shika Aneerban, Shaheed Minar, Savar Swriti Soudah be our national pride.
    Our language martyrs Barkat, Salam, Rafique, Jabbar, and Shafiur laid the foundation of our nationhood. Our martyred freedom fighters sacrificed their precious lives to get us the identity. The country once used to flow with milk and honey. Still it has enormous resources both onshore and offshore which if properly explored and exploited can make Bangladesh the roaring tigers in 10-15 years.
    Our huge population which many consider a major problem can be our resources. Our great innovative framers, hard working labour force, garments girls, rural women are fighting wars for nation building in their own front. The nation is so happy with minimum yet we the educated opportunist section of the society misused our positions and let corrupt mafias suck the cream of major development efforts.
    Hasina and Khaleda must not nominate identified criminals, corrupt persons, war criminals from their party to seek people’s mandate. They must come closer to try true war criminals.
    Khaleda and Hasina must ensure whoever forms government will ensure punishment of the self confessed killers of Bangabandhu, four leaders in Jail in fair trial. All killings Ziaur Rahman, Siraj Sikhdar, General Manjoor, General Khaled Mushrraf, Col Taher, Huda, and Hyder, killing of hundreds of innocent freedom fighters must also be probed and tried. Bangladesh can not be free of curse if all the killings are not properly and fairly investigated and killers are not punished.

    The present government has made a significant reform that political parties must not have front organisations among students, labour force and professionals. Bangladesh does not have enough competent professionals .If the capable professionals are victimised from narrow political visions then this nation can never come out of the deep hole it is in. Hasina and Khaleda and for that matter the nation must ensure that this must not happen again. Why Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, University Teachers, Diplomats Beauractras should be evaluated on the basis of their political belief? These persons are building blocks of the nation. If they get involved in politics then nation gets deprived of their main contribution.
    Education, Agriculture, Energy and Law an order must be the priority national issues. Parliament should be the only place to debate, discuss and take all decisions. Available human resource and expertise of Bangladesh at home and abroad must be utilised. We must see that we achieve 100% literacy rate by 2030, control population growth within acceptable limit, Explore and exploit our gas , coal and other natural resources to ensure our energy security .After election whichever party win must take opposition in the right spirit. There can be government of consensus even if Khaleda and Hasina see eye to eye. There must be unanimous decision for stopping hartal and street agitation every now and then. We must take common stand on issues like delimiting maritime boundary, exploration of off shore resources, exploration of coal, and national fuel mix for power generation, investment friendly policies for fee flow of FDI with strongly regulatory control of independent regulators.

    There must not be any compromise with corruption and terrorism. ACC, EC, PSC, Police and Administration must remain truly independent. We must endeavour a political culture which makes politicians respected by all. There may be political difference. But peoples mandate must be respected. Press and media freedom must be ensured.
    Hasina and Khaleda must pay back the love and respect the common people have shown to them. They should consider themselves lucky also. Myanmar Democracy Icon Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suchi is spending time for decades even after getting popular mandate. At least that situation they did not face. The nation is well above individuals. No one remains indispensible for anything for ever.
    Bangladesh has got one last chance to turn around. The world is up for a change. Look at US election Barak Obama has made history with the slogan to change the world. The world is also in the grip of economic recession after food and energy crunches. The fall outs have affected us also. We have lost enough and do not have enough left to keep loosing. But we have huge untapped resources, huge human resource. A visionary political leadership can really make Bangladesh taxi and takeoff from the slippery runway.

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