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Form national govt to hold participatory national elections: B Chowdhury

dhaka: Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury on Friday urged the government to take necessary steps to form a national government for holding the next general elections in a neutral manner.
‘All free and fair national elections in the past were held under a neutral government,’ he said while speaking at a discussion on ‘National Elections and People’s Expectations,’ at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity.
Bangladesh New Generation Party on the occasion of celebrating its fifth founding anniversary organised the discussion attended by a number of political leaders.
The discussants said deployment of army during the national election is necessary to make it peaceful and contain election violence.
The leaders urged the government to be sincere while holding the next national elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner with the participation of all political parties.
Speaking as chief guest, Badruddoza Chowdhury said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier proposed for constituting an election-time government by allocating home ministry– during elections– to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, who he said made a mistake by rejecting the proposal.
Badruddoza, also the former president of Bangladesh, said that the prime minister could again form such an election-time neutral government, keeping the similar provision– allocating home ministry to an opposition party leader– as she had pledged before the last general elections.

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He said an efficient and neutral administration and deployment of army are crucial to make upcoming general elections free, fair and peaceful.
Badruddoza called the political leaders who cherish democratic values to come forward to take part in the next general elections.
Freedom fighter and Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, who spoke as a special guest, said that an election commission alone could not bring democracy back to the country unless the government turns honest.
He said army can be deployed at least seven days prior to the polls and that they should be stationed at the respective areas up to seven days into the polls. Citing an example of Japan, he said developed nations also engage army during any period of national emergency.

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Zafrullah said Bangladesh Nationalist Party should give up its policy of marching alone. Instead, they should take other parties, including, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh and Krishak Sramik Janata League, with them if they want to launch any movement against the government.
Zafrullah, a physician by profession and a rights activist, said this government is corrupt, lacks democracy and has justice-less judiciary.
Politician and businessman Golam Maula Rony said it is essential to instil confidence among the constituents who would believe that there would be a free and fair election, in the country.

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Dhaka university professor Sukomal Barua said the government spirited with truthfulness should come forward to hold a fair national election with everyone’s participation.
Any unopposed wining is dangerous for democracy, he observed, referring to past general elections where a good number of contestants won without any franchise.
Mohammad Hanif, a retired major, said elections are not held as per expectations of the people because the ruling party does not want to leave power.
Golam Mostafa Bhuiyan of Bangladesh NAP said there is no reason to be very hopeful over dialogue with president, Abdul Hamid, who would not do anything, leaving aside the government prescription.
He said it is the prime minister who should stay honest to hold participatory national elections. BNGP president Zahid Iqbal presided over the discussion.

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