‘Ball in BNP’s court’

“The ball in now in the BNP’s court,” he said in Dhaka on Friday. “We will have to wait and see if they stick to lawful, parliamentary, and democratic politics.”

The Prime Minister, he said, had set the electoral ball rolling in fulfilling her constitutional responsibility. The opposition, he added, was entitled to differ on issues but had to state whether they were ready to take part in the national election to be held under the constitution.

“If they do, it will be an affirmation of their allegiance to democratic, lawful and constitutional politics,” Sengupta said.

The ruling Awami League formally initiated on Wednesday the selection process of its candidates amidst fears of a political crisis arising out of the conflicting positions of the government and the main opposition party on poll modalities.

Sengupta was speaking in a discussion on ‘BNP blueprint for thwarting the national election and the government’s tasks’, where he explained the PM’s constitutional responsibilities during election time.

The refuted the opposition allegation that the holding of elections without the dissolution of Parliament would give the ruling party an undue advantage, saying this was the practice in many countries. He recalled that elections were held under a similar arrangement in 1972, but without criticisms.

Criticising the opposition party, Sengupta said, “Fakhrul Islam talks about constitutional and lawful elections but issues veiled threats as well.”

“The days of conducting elections with the help of goons were over,” he said, referring to Fakhrul’s remark about sealing off ‘escape routes’ for the ruling party.

“Votes can’t be stolen or looted or tampered with anymore,” he stressed. “We now have the voters’ list, identity cards, and greater awareness among the people.

He also referred to what he described as ‘media vigil’ that even helps locate a needle in a haystack. “Nothing goes unnoticed. Everything is recorded by the camera. So, the election will be free and fair.”

“The ball is in the BNP’s court. What do they want – peace or turmoil, election or chaos?” the Awami League leader asked rhetorically.

He claimed the BNP had already begun poll preparations, while publicly opposing the holding of elections under the present government.

He hoped the BNP would realise its mistake and offer proposals. “The Prime Minister, our party, and the alliance are there to listen to whatever you may have to say. We are reasonable people. We want the country to run peacefully,” Sengupta said.

He also scotched speculation about a 90-day extension of the government’s tenure and a possible constitutional amendment.

Source: Bd news24

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