The BNP-led 20-party alliance on Monday decided to forge a greater unity with likeminded political parties for the ‘restoration’ of democracy in the country.
Talking to reporters after a meeting of the alliance, 20-party coordinator and BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan also told reporters that they decided to take some action programmes under the alliance to realise their various demands.
“Our meeting has decided in principle to take a step for forging a greater national unity uniting the political parties turned down the 11th parliamentary election and those are vocal for restoration of democracy,” he said.
Nazrul said the 20-party will announce various programmes very soon demanding the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
He said they will also work out countrywide programmes demanding the government ensure the fair prices of farmers’ produce and reduce the prices of agricultural inputs.
Besides, he said, they decided to hold at least one meeting of the 20-party every month.
Asked about the alliance’s stance on the Andaleeve Rahman Partha’s Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) which announced to quit the alliance, Nazrul said there is a misunderstanding with Partha, and it will be resolved soon.
Partha was invited to join the 20-party meeting, but he did not turn up.
Nazrul hoped that Partha will revoke his decision and will be there with the 20-party.
Sought comments whether there is any conflict between BNP’s partners of Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party, Nazrul replied in the negative. “Oikyafront was formed in consultation with the 20-party partners.”
BNP to contest Bogra by-election
Meanwhile , BNP is going to participate in the by-election to Bogura-6 parliamentary seat, which fell vacant after party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir decided not to take oath of office.
At a meeting of the BNP-led 20-party alliance on Monday night, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the party will also nominate a candidate for its reserved seat for women.
Talking to UNB on Tuesday, Fariduzzaman Farhad, chairman of National People’s Party (NPP), one of the components of the 20-party, said the BNP secretary general conveyed the alliance leaders about their party’s decision on the by-polls to avert any misunderstanding.
At the meeting, Farhad said Fakhrul also explained the reason why the party decided to join parliament.
The meeting was held at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office with Fakhrul in the chair.
It is, however, unclear whether the party has picked anyone for contesting the by-polls and the reserved seat.
The BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront secured eight seats out of 300 in the 2018 national election. Of them, BNP got six, while its ally Gonoforum bagged two seats.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam contested the election from his home constituency Thakurgaon-1 and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia’s seat Bogura-6.
Though he was defeated to Awami League candidate Ramesh Chandra Sen in Thakurgaon-1, Fakhrul won the Bogura-6, a stronghold of BNP.
Although BNP and Oikyafront turned down the election bringing various allegations, including that of stuffing ballots the night before voting, seven MPs-elect of the alliance took oath, except Fakhrul.
Of them, four BNP MPs-elect were sworn in on April 29, the last date of taking oath to retain the membership of the 11th parliament intact.
On April 30, the parliamentary seat was declared vacant as Fakhrul failed to take oath of office.
The by-polls to Bogura-6 constituency will be held on June 24, according to a schedule announced by the Election Commission on May 8.
According to the by-poll schedule, the deadline for the submission of nomination paper is May 23, while the date for scrutinising nomination paper is May 27 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is June 3.
The eight-hour balloting period will begin at 9am instead of 8am in the by-election while Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in all the polling stations of the constituency.