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Muslim League, Khelafat Majlish want polls-time neutral govt
Bangladesh Muslim League (BML) and Khelafat Majlish on Monday proposed that the Election Commission (EC) take steps for installing an election-time non-partisan government and deploying army with the magistracy power to hold the next general election in a free, fair and credible manner.
The two parties, both components of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, placed their proposals participating in the EC’s dialogue separately at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
A 10-member BML delegation, led by its president AHM Kamruzzaman Khan, joined the talks beginning at 11am while a 12-member Khelafat Majlish team, led by its secretary general Dr Ahmed Abdul Kader, participated in the talks from 3pm.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda presided over the meetings.
The two parties also proposed dissolution of Parliament and withdrawal of all politically-motivated cases before the election schedule.
“We’ve recommended installing an election-time non-partisan impartial caretaker or supportive government to hold the next polls neutrally with the participation of all parties,” BML secretary general Advocate Sheikh Julfikar Bulbul Chowdhury told reporters after the talks.
They also suggested deployment of army with the magistracy power from one month before the election to 15 days after the polls, he said, adding that their party placed an 11-point proposal before the Commission during the one-and-half-hour dialogue.
The other proposals include dissolution of Parliament, creating election-friendly atmosphere , curbing use of black money and muscle power, ensuring security to polling stations and attendance of polling agents by installing stations in neutral places, announcing polls result in each station publicly, creating environment for every registered political party to join the election, ensuring neutral role of the administration and law enforcement agencies, and withdrawal of political cases at least three months before the election day.
Khelafat Majlish placed a 34-point proposal at the nearly two-hour talks.
“We’ve proposed that the election be held under an election-time neutral government. The Commission can play a role in installing an election-time neutral government,” said Khalafat Majlish secretary general Dr Ahmed Abdul Kader while talking to reporters after the talks.
“The Election Commission can try for a national dialogue between the ruling party and opposition parties for it (installation of election-time neutral government),” he said.
The party also proposed deployment of army with the magistracy power alongside regular law enforcement agencies during the election, he added.
Dr Kader said his party suggested keeping the public administration and home ministries under the Election Commission during the polls.
He said they suggested the Commission take steps for withdrawal of all ‘false’ cases filed against opposition leaders and activists and the release of all political detainees before announcement of the election schedule.
Among other proposals placed by Khelafat Majlish are dissolution of Parliament, refraining from using electronic voting machines in election, appointment of returning officers from EC’s own staff, keeping election free from influence of black money and muscle power, restoration of pre-2008 delimitation of constituencies, bringing all polling stations under CCTV coverage, if possible, ensuring voting rights of Bangladeshi expatriates and extension of the deadline for political parties to reach target of ensuring 33 percent women in their all-level committees.
EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed at a press briefing said the Election Commission is likely to consider common proposals being received during the EC’s ongoing dialogue with its different stakeholders, including registered political parties.
“The Commission may consider very common proposals,” he said, adding that some common proposals are being received over deployment of army, and curbing black money and muscle power.
About the proposal for withdrawal political cases, he said the Commission thinks it will have to be sure first whether the cases are political ones or criminal ones.
“The Commission can’t recommend withdrawal of the cases filed over burning people to death in arson attacks on buses. The EC can’t recommend withdrawal of the criminal cases. The Commission just told them (BML and Khelafat Majlish) that it won’t suggest anything over the criminal cases filed over violence,” he added.
The Commission initiated its talks with 40 registered political parties on Thursday last to take their opinions over its preparation for the next national election.