Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Polls-Time Govt

PM calls for consensus

Asks BNP not to set conditions for dialogue; no scope for unelected govt

PM calls for consensus

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday called for a consensus over the issue of a polls-time government through talks with the BNP, but ruled out the formation of an unelected government.
She also called upon the BNP-led opposition alliance and Hefajat-e Islam to postpone their today’s and tomorrow’s rally and Dhaka siege programme considering the Savar tragedy.
Hasina, who is also president of the ruling Awami League, was speaking at a press conference at her Gono Bhaban residence, where editors, senior journalists and reporters were present.
In her nearly 40-minute speech, the prime minister highlighted details of the proposed dialogue with the main opposition party and the rescue operation taking place in Savar since the nine-storey Rana Plaza collapsed on April 24.
The PM also clarified her administration’s position on the Hefajat’s 13-point demand.
On the proposed talks, Hasina said she wanted no pre-condition, although the BNP leaders had made it known that talks were possible only if the government accepted their demand of a restoration of the caretaker government.
“There is no logic behind placing any condition. It is very sad,” she said, adding that the opposition would be given the proposal formally at an “appropriate time”.
“And everything will be settled through discussions.”
AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam told The Daily Star after the press conference that the ruling party was preparing the formal letter to be given to the opposition party soon.
Asked if there could be a solution within the constitutional framework about the polls-time government and its formation, Hasina told the press conference she had no objection to forming an interim government comprising elected representatives of all parties.
On whether she was determined not to restore the caretaker government system, Hasina said she was not “rigid” in her attitude towards anything in her personal life.
“I want solution and compromise in moving forward. It’s not true that I’m rigid,” she said, adding that she had urged the opposition leader to sit for talks as people were being killed in the name of hartal and movement by the BNP, which must stop.
The PM said she did not want a non-party caretaker government to assume power as it might present more danger than by the one in 2007, which wanted to implement the “minus-two” formula.
She wondered why Khaleda was “so eager” to bring an unelected government to power.
Referring to various attempts to kill her, including the August 21 grenade attack in 2004, the prime minister alleged, “She [Khaleda] wanted to kill me, but failed. She also tried to save the killers of my parents and four national leaders…Even after all these we want to sit for a dialogue with them in the interest of the country so that democracy continues.”
About the formation of an election-time government, Hasina said parliament would not sit during the 90 days of the polls period as per the 15th amendment to the constitution. There will also be no cabinet meeting after the declaration of the election schedule.
Saying that the leader of the house, leader of the opposition, deputy leader of the house and the Speaker in the country were now all women, she urged Khaleda, who is the leader of the opposition in parliament, to join parliament so they can have their picture taken for record. The PM described it as unprecedented in the world’s history.
Speaking of the Rana Plaza disaster, she said the garment owners of the building were responsible for the collapse.
The day before the collapse a crack was found at the building and industrial police asked the factories not to operate, she said, adding: “But the factory owners decided to operate their units. When they started their generators, the building caved in. It is unexpected that so many people should have lost their lives.”
Thanking citizens for joining the rescue operation, the PM said, “It made history and showed that Bangladesh can deal with a disaster. It will remain an example for us [to follow].”
HEFAJAT REACTION
Shah Ahmad Shafi, ameer of the Hefajat-e-Islam, rejected the PM’s call for postponing his organisation’s Dhaka siege programme, saying transport on the Savar route would remain out of the purview of the blockade.
In a statement, he termed Hasina’s speech confusing and said there was nothing in it to convince the Hefajat to call off its programme.
He alleged the PM had tried to give a false interpretation of the 13-point demand.
BNP REACTION
BNP spokesperson Shamsuzzaman Dudu said BNP chief Khaleda Zia would give her reaction to the PM’s speech at today’s rally.
On Hasina’s call for postponing the rally, he said theirs was a three-hour programme, which would not create any problem.



  • Reaz Hassan

    Her proposed formula is an Awami dispensation to hold an Awami style election for the redemption of the country’s ills. It simply says -come and join my interim government and let’s have the election. Sadly, she conveniently forgot the underlying aspirations of the citizens- the establishment of a meaningful democracy wherein they would be ensured the right to vote in a free and fair manner and that every vote is counted and credited for honestly. Her formula has sharp teeth, no doubt, but only to cut the opposition into bits and pieces.

  • trybestone

    Excellent!!!!!

  • trybestone

    Very very true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monju.huq.9 Monju Huq

    Instead of making any speculation or looking for motive of any quarter let us all encourage the parties at loggerheads to sit at least, and discuss their viewpoints in detail.

  • Ash C.

    As an ordinary observer, I dare say there is no
    scope for an Interim government with elected representative to conduct the
    election – that will mean all the parliament members will hold their offices
    with the incumbent PM as the head until the election is over & new
    ‘elected’ party takes over the reign of the government. After witnessing,
    particularly over the last four years plus of ‘hospitality’ towards the
    opposition political parties, even a fool in the street can say which way the
    election will certainly sway (even if the Interim govt. has 50-50 govt.&
    opposition share in the Interim cabinet) with the present PM running it. Giving
    the lame excuse of constitutional bar is just ridiculous! How many times in last
    42 years the constitution has been changed – several times in matter of minutes
    - including abolition of Caretaker Government clause totally disregarding the
    opinions of all but one for keeping the clause intact? And that too at the whim
    of the PM! As Dr.Kamal Hussain said in several TV interviews, if there is good
    will & concern for the people of the country among the policy makers, the
    caretaker / neutral government issue can be reintroduced in the constitution in
    just half of an hour. I strongly believe so. Let there be no more violence &
    loss of lives & property on this issue, please.

    • nazmul Haq

      Did not she brought in the fundamentally flawed system of CG government through immense violence, death and destruction?

  • Ash C.

    While several other countries have already introduced this caretaker concept for their national election, Bangladesh being the first country to introduce it has now abolished it! A tragedy no doubt – but for how long?

  • Reaz Hassan

    We are passing through a transition. I hope to see lights on the other side of the tunnel. Thanks.

  • Ash C.

    Technically – yes, I suppose. But ethically does not seem right overlooking several competent old guards from AL sitting in the parliament. And, is there any mother’s son in AL to disagree with the dictate of the AL chief?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.khan.1884787 Mohammed Khan

    I vote for you. You are right. It is nothing but an ego!!! Allah is great. Joy Bangladesh

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.khan.1884787 Mohammed Khan

    I voted for you and want to say that PM Hasina missed the train. Now again she did blunder; she ride on a goods train think passenger train. That is her fault; again she is putting the ball for BNP to make a goal. Allah is great. Joy Bangladesh

  • Zman7

    Yes, because I don’t see any contradiction in her statements

    • Ash C.

      Really? OK. Let’s wait & see what further drama unfolds! Thank you.

  • nazmul Haq

    She is the mother of confrontational and anarchic politics in Bangladesh since 1991.

  • nazmul Haq

    That exactly she is trying to do.

  • http://twitter.com/gethdimage Gethdimage.com

    Yes, discussion could be better form other violence.

  • nazmul Haq

    It seems from your reply that abnormal is normal in Bangladesh.