A day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the visiting US delegation, led by Counselor of US State Department Derek Chollet, that the next elections in Bangladesh would be credible, free and fair; ruling party Awami League, led by General Secretary Obaidul Quader, held a meeting with the Ambassadors of seven European Union (EU) countries in Gulshan area of the capital on Thursday.
Emerging from the meeting, Quader, who is also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, said the EU wants the next parliamentary elections to be a participatory one here. “I have talked to the representatives of seven EU countries. Ahead of the next general elections, as the ruling party, we held meeting with the EU today. They want all parties including BNP to join the next polls,” he told reporters.
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According to him, “We told one thing clearly – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated in her speech on Wednesday that the next elections will be credible, free and fair. In addition, the Election Commission (EC) will play an important role and the government will provide all kinds of support to the Commission.” The AL leader stressed that there was no difference between the statements the AL leaders gave today and the premier’s speech as they echoed what the prime minister said on Wednesday.
“At the same time, we are taking preparations ahead of the next elections,” he added. Among others, AL Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah, AL Information and Research Affairs Secretary Dr Selim Mahmud, AL Office Secretary Biplab Barua and AL Central Committee Member Mohammad A Arafat attended the meeting with EU countries.
When asked whether there was any advice about bringing BNP to the next elections, the AL general secretary said, “We will not listen to anyone’s instructions. Our guidelines are our constitution which we follow.” He claimed that in Bangladesh, all the electoral reforms were brought during the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s tenure and on her initiative. “Even a law for elections has been passed in Parliament”.
According to the AL leader, the BNP ignored the President’s instructions on dialogue and even the EC invited the BNP twice to join its dialogues but it did not join. “However, the BNP has always had a disinterest in dialogue. In fact, BNP is not willing to participate in the general elections because they (BNP leaders) know that the Awami League will come to power again under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. So, BNP is resorting to ill tactics sensing defeat in the elections,” he viewed.
Quader said according to the information the AL is getting, the BNP is planning to oust the government by carrying out arson attack, terrorism and militancy again like that of 2014-15. “BNP is destabilising the country in the name of movement and it is plotting to capture the state power by creating chaos,” observed the AL general secretary.