Published: 16 Nov 2023, 12:55 pm
The ongoing agitation by the BNP can't stop the national election from taking place on 7 January as per the announced schedule, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said on Thursday (November 16).
"Nothing will happen due to BNP's movement. Elections will not stop. The election schedule has been announced. We want everyone to participate," he said at a press conference at the Dhaka District Awami League office at Tejgaon in around 11am.
"We will invite everyone to participate in the election. As a ruling party, we request that there should be no obstacle for anyone. If BNP changes its mind and joins the election, we will welcome it," Quader added.
He said that the Awami League has been fighting an uncompromising struggle for democracy since its establishment.
"Awami League does not think about changing state power through conspiracy. We never assumed the responsibility of running the state without elections and without the vote of the people. We have always fought for democracy. We have worked to establish human rights," he said.
Obaidul Ouader said that the current election commission is independent.
"Who gave this freedom? Sheikh Hasina did. Only the daughter of Bangabandhu has fulfilled all the necessary issues for a meaningful and credible election," he said.
The Awami League general secretary said the BNP wants to put the blame on them regarding dialogue.
"Ahead of the 2018 elections, we called for a dialogue at Ganabhaban. BNP was invited there for two consecutive days. Ahead of the 2014 elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina personally invited Begum Khaleda Zia over the phone. Khaleda Zia did not come to the dialogue," he added.
Awami League presidium member Begum Matia Chowdhury, Kazi Zafar Ullah, Dr Mustafa Jalal Mohiuddin, Kamrul Islam, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif MP, AFM Bahauddin Nashim, Organising Secretary Ahmad Hossain, Mirza Azam, Afzal Hossain, Sujit Roy Nandi, Science and Technology Affairs Secretary Abdus Sabur among others were present at the press briefing.
The 12th Jatiya Sangsad election will be held on 7 January, the Election Commission announced yesterday amid staunch objections from the opposition parties, including the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami.
Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal, announcing the schedule during a live telecast from the Nirbachan Bhaban around 7pm, invited all parties to participate in the polls as "there is an environment of holding free, fair and participatory polls".
He also stated that political parties will be able to submit nominations for candidacies till 30 November.
Rejecting the election schedule, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi warned that the country was now headed towards an "inevitable conflict".
"That a fair election can be held under this government is a complete lie. We boycott this biased Election Commission," he said in a reaction at a virtual press conference last night.
"Except for AL, for whom has this election schedule been announced?" he questioned.
The ruling Awami League welcomed the EC announcement, saying it goes in line with the constitution and elections will be held accordingly.