Bangladesh on verge of political anarchy

01 November,2013

RTNN Desk: Awami League prepares for polls under a poll-time interim cabinet while BNP-led 18-party is getting ready for nonstop blockade, hartal and civil disobedience to foil polls.
The country is heading for turmoil and uncertainty as the ruling Awami League and opposition BNP are poised for a face-off over the election issue although both sides still speak of resolving the crisis through dialogue.

Observers apprehend a confrontation between the two sides appears to be unavoidable as the ruling party is making all-out preparations for forming a poll-time interim government headed by Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and hold the election by mid-January even sans opposition while the opposition BNP is preparing to stage blockade, hartal and civil disobedience to thwart the planned election.

The ray of hope raised through the Hasina-Khaleda telephonic talks for resolution of the political stand-off through dialogue is fading fast as the dialogue itself now looks a distant dream with both sides resorting to tricks over it.

Awami League calls for dialogue on all-party poll-time government but BNP insists that dialogue must be held on non-party neutral government to oversee election.

While announcing tougher movement programmes in the form of blockade, hartal and civil disobedience, BNP says that AL is staging drama in the name of dialogue and AL rejects outright the opposition demand for dialogue on non-party neutral administration.

Against this backdrop, dialogue between AL and BNP remains a forlorn hope although words are still coming from both sides stressing the need for talks.

In a latest salvo from an 18-party rally in the capital, BNP acting secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir asked the incumbent Election Commission to stop “misleading” people through amending the RPO and Election Code of Conduct. “If you work for holding election under the party in power, country’s people will try you in public court,” he warned.

However, the ruling party moved for the election as per provision of the constitution.

Awami League is going to form an election-time interim government comprising elected representatives of the parties which will take part in the polls, just a day after the declaration of the poll schedule.

It is also planning to hold the elections in line with the constitution amid the prevailing political crisis arising out of the opposition movement for the polls under a non-party interim government.

AL-insiders say that the party has taken the initiative as the main opposition BNP skips the premier’s proposal for dialogue over the election issue.

A few days back, the premier phoned the opposition leader and talked for 37 minutes about reaching a consensus on forming an all-party poll-time government.

The nation hardly sees any possibility of resolution to the long-running political crisis as the two major parties stuck to their guns over the election issue.

Under this circumstance, AL and its allies are preparing to arrange the upcoming elections due by January 24 as per the constitutional.

The ruling alliance also wants to form the interim government one day after the Election Commission announced the poll schedules, they said.

Sources in AL and its leftist allies said though the ruling alliance wants a peaceful solution to the problems, it won’t sit idle to hold the polls if opposition BNP continues taking stand on reaching consensus.

As per the roadmap, the ruling party will start selling nomination papers among its aspirants on November 10 and declare their candidatures within November.

The interim government with a small cabinet will be formed a day after the announcement of the election schedule, party sources said.

Sources said that the EC might declare the schedules for 10th parliamentary elections between November 20 and 30.

AL presidium member Kazi Jafarullah told reporters that the interim government will be formed with the participation of elected representatives of the parties which will participate in the elections.

“The interim government will be formed one day after announcement of the poll schedule,” he said, adding: “AL would declare its candidacy within November.”

Addressing a rally here Wednesday, AL leader Tofail Ahmed said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already began the process of forming an all-party poll-time government to oversea the national elections.

“As the prime minister kicked off the process, the opposition can take part in it,” he said.

“There is no scope for dialogue over restoration of the caretaker government. If BNP wants to hold dialogue without any condition, AL is ready to sit for talks, Tofail said.

The veteran politician observed that the possibility of holding dialogue has been faded away by opposition BNP.

He reiterated that both the incumbent government and parliament will be valid till January 24. The next polls are likely to be held in the first week of January.

As part of gearing up the poll preparations, the Awami League Parliamentary Board (ALPB) has recently decided to consider some 150 constituencies as vulnerable to the ruling party.

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