The BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) has taken action by issuing show-cause notices to 30 of its members who participated in the Gazipur City Corporation election, which goes against the party’s decision. The party has requested a written response from all the recipients of the notice within 24 hours.
The notice was signed by BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and was handed to the BNP leaders on Friday afternoon.
What the notice includes?
According to the notice, the BNP and patriotic citizens have been protesting against the illegitimate government for the past 15 years, demanding an election under a neutral government. It also mentioned that Begum Khaleda Zia has been serving an extended prison term of nearly five years in the struggle to establish the people’s right to vote.
Additionally, the notice stated that the government has been perpetually harassing BNP leaders and activists through murder, torture, and filing false cases. Many BNP leaders and workers have been made to disappear, and fake cases have already been filed against nearly 500,000 leaders.
The notice added that the BNP has decided not to participate in any kind of election under this illegitimate government. However, as a party member, the candidates neglected this decision for personal gain, and therefore, they were directed to submit a written response within 24 hours, explaining why organizational action should not be taken against them.
Party leaders’ opinions
Gazipur District BNP leader Shawkat Hossain Sarkar conveyed that the party is determined to strictly deal with those who disregarded the party’s decision and took part in the election. The party’s acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, has also underscored this firm stance.
Hannan Mia Hannu, a councilor candidate from the 36th ward of the city corporation, confirmed receiving the letter and stated that he will discuss with the party workers and provide a response to the show-cause notice.
Who are the notice receivers?
The notice receiver councilor candidates include:
- Sadar Metro Thana organiser Hasan Azmal Bhuiya;
- Former Sadar Metro Thana organiser Hannan Mia,
- General Secretary of Basan Metro Thana Musa Uddin Chowdhury;
- General Secretary of Tongi East Thana BNP Sheikh Alek;
- Former chairman of Tongi West Thana BNP Safi Uddin;
- Convener of the Metropolitan labor union Foyser Ahmed Sarkar;
- Member of the Purbai Thana BNP Advocate Nazrul Islam Biky;
- Former Convener Sultan Uddin chairman;
- Chairman of the Sadar Thana BNP Mojibur Rahman;
- Senior vice-chairman of Sadar BNP Mohila Dal Khondokar Nurunnahar
- Vice-Chairman of Sadar BNP Mohila Dal Kea Sharmin
Will this decision of BNP hamper democratic practice of Bangladesh?
Elections are not simply a one-day event but rather a holistic process that is crucial for a functioning democracy. While the participation of all parties is a fundamental condition for an election to be considered competitive, it has been observed in the past, such as during the 11th National Parliament election, that participatory elections do not always guarantee competitiveness.
Moreover, recent elections under a party government with the retention of parliament have raised concerns about the future of democracy in Bangladesh. Now, it is said that, the fate of democracy in Bangladesh largely depends on the upcoming 12th National Assembly elections.
Dr. Hasan Mahmud, the Information Minister and Awami League Joint General Secretary, has emphasised the importance of these elections and criticised the election aversion of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), stating that such reluctance is detrimental to democracy. While it is ultimately up to each political party to decide whether or not to participate in elections, the government encourages all parties, including the BNP, to participate in all elections, including City Corporation elections.
Dr. Mahmud noted that the BNP has vacillated in its stance toward elections, participating in some City Corporation elections while skipping others. He suggested that the BNP’s participation in the City Corporation elections could serve as a means of testing the party’s popularity and gauging the competitiveness of the election. The recent Comilla City Corporation elections were viewed as competitive, free, and fair by the Election Commission, which has received support from the government. Now it is time to judge the fairness of Gazipur City Corporation Election too.
So, to conclude, it can be said that the absence of a major political party like BNP from the upcoming Gazipur City Corporation election in Bangladesh could raise further questions about the legitimacy of the election results, reduce voter turnout and interest to another stance, and signal a lack of faith in the democratic process and institutions, potentially undermining the democratic practice of the country.