Vol. 5 Num 904 Tue. December 12, 2006  
Front Page

Iajuddin must quit now as chief adviser
14-party demands; set to form greater alliance

Terming President Iajuddin Ahmed the "mastermind" of all crises, the Awami League (AL) led 14-party alliance yesterday once again firmly demanded his immediate resignation from the post of chief adviser in the interest of holding a free and fair election.

Sources said the alliance will form an even greater alliance with Jatiya Oikya Front, Jatiya Party (Ershad), Islami Oikya Front, Zaker Party and other parties and will launch a movement to press home their one-point demand--the chief adviser's resignation.

The decision for the one-point movement came from a Presidium meeting of the AL at its Dhanmondi office last night. The meeting was postponed until 6:00pm today.

Earlier, 14-party Coordinator Abdul Jalil at a press conference at the AL Dhanmondi office said, "A congenial atmosphere for holding a fair poll will never be created in the country under his [Iajuddin] jurisdiction. But we want to participate in a free and fair election."

He termed Iajuddin "the main barrier" to holding a free and fair poll and asked him to quit the office of the chief adviser and appoint a non-partisan person in the post as per the constitution to hold a neutral election.

On the resignation of the four advisers to the caretaker government, the AL general secretary said the chief adviser's partisan role, his ignoring the advisers and taking decisions unilaterally had "forced" them to resign.

"The advisers had tried their best to create a congenial atmosphere for holding a free and fair election in the country, but the chief adviser was the main barrier to their effort," Jalil said.

He accused the chief adviser of pushing the country towards a tense situation by deploying the army, "which forced the four advisers to resign".

"Even the advisers have said that a free and fair election is not possible in this situation," Jalil said, thanking all the advisers for their hard work and repeated efforts to create a congenial atmosphere for a fair poll.

Prior to the press briefing, the 14-party held a meeting with AL Presidium Member Amir Hossain Amu in the chair. The meeting discussed the latest political situation following the resignation of the four advisers.

Asked what the 14-party alliance will do if the president does not quit the chief adviser's office, Jalil said they will participate in the election only after a congenial atmosphere for a free and fair election is created.

"Our ongoing demonstrations for a free and fair election will continue," he added.

On army deployment, Jalil said no such situation has arisen in the country that requires deployment of the army.

He alleged that the president resorted to lies as he claimed to have discussed the matter with the advisers, who said they had not been informed of the decision.

"There were objections from the council of advisers, but the president deployed the army at the direction from [BNP Chairperson] Khaleda Zia and Hawa Bhaban," he said.

Jalil said the president is making the army controversial by using them to save the looters and corrupt leaders of the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.

He urged the armed forces not to be used as a "political weapon" of any party.

Jalil termed the president's address to the nation "misleading".

Senior 14-party leaders Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Suranjit Sengupta, Obaidul Quader, Rashed Khan Menon, Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, Abdul Mannan, Bimal Biswas, Nurul Islam and Dilip Barua were present at the press briefing.

Earlier, the joint general secretaries and organising secretaries of the AL held an emergency meeting at the Dhanmondi party office to discuss the AL's taking part in the next poll and its preparations.