BNP will take part in the dialogue with the President!
The term of the current Election Commission (EC) headed by KM Nurul Huda will expire on February 14. In the meantime, a new EC has to be formed. So the President Abdul Hamid has started discussions with the political parties about the EC formation process. As part of this, the President has held a dialogue with the Jatiya Party and the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD). The President will hold discussions with all the registered political parties step by step.
There have been various speculations about the BNP's participation in the President's dialogue. Several BNP leaders have made it clear that they will not run in any election under the present government. However, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam said no decision has been taken on the dialogue yet. After receiving the letter from the President, the decision will be taken after discussion in the meeting of the standing committee. After Fakhrul's remarks, it is believed that the party has a positive attitude towards dialogue.
A reliable BNP source told Barta24.com that if they are invited to dialogue, talks will be held with the opposition political parties. The BNP will take part in the President's dialogue if it reaches a political consensus with the opposition parties at the negotiating table. Their demands will be presented to the President. The source also said that Chairperson Khaleda Zia would be given the opportunity to seek better medical treatment abroad and a neutral government shall have to be formed during the elections.
Earlier, BNP organizing Secretary Syed Emran Saleh Prince told Barta24.com that no EC under the present government would be able to elect people's representatives through popular vote. We want a non-partisan, neutral government during elections. If a neutral government is formed, there will be an EC under it. If there is an EC through a search committee, it will be an obedient EC of the Awami League.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi has termed the President's initiative for dialogue with various political parties to form an EC as a deceptive bioscope. He said the President of this government has called for dialogue, so he will not be able to go a step beyond the government's word.
BNP standing committee member Selima Rahman said, "We have been saying from the beginning that we will not go into any such dialogue." The search committee will also be one-sided. The EC that will come with the search committee is the same thing. So there is no point in going into that discussion. So far we have not agreed to go into dialogue to form an EC. Not going to dialogue. Even then, if they (the President) say that the election will be fair, then it can be considered.
Regarding the President's dialogue, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said he had not received any letter from the President regarding the dialogue. No decision has been made yet. After receiving the letter from the President, we will discuss and decide in the meeting of our standing committee.
Although the constitution called for the enactment of a law to form the EC, no government has followed that path. The Commission is being formed according to the powers given to the President in the constitution. Article 118 of the constitution empowers the president to appoint the CEC and not more than four election commissioners. In the last few terms, the President has constituted the Election Commission on the basis of the recommendations of the Search Committee.
In 2017, President Abdul Hamid held a dialogue with 31 political parties to form the latest election commission. The President then formed a search committee headed by the present Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain (then a judge of the Appellate Division). The search committee sought five names from each political party involved in the dialogue with the President. They then shortlisted 10 people and sent recommendations to the President. Accordingly KM Nurul Huda was appointed Chief Election Commissioner and four other commissioners.