PM won’t budge an inch on polls stance

REF:  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has brushed aside outright the opposition’s strident demand for an interim election-time government.

“(We) amended the Constitution with people’s mandate. The election will be in line with the Constitution. We will not move an inch”, she told a press conference at Ganabhaban on Sunday.

 


Her comment came in response to a reporter’s query if any changes would be made to the Constitution ahead on the election.

The next election will be held under the present government in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

The BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia who has been leading long campaign for restoration of a provision allowing a caretaker government has repeatedly stated that the main opposition will not go to any election under a political government.

The 15th amendment to the Constitution that scrapped the caretaker provision came from a court of law but the BNP claims it is a ‘process’ by which the ruling party wants to retain power.

About opposition fears that votes would be rigged under a political government, the Prime Minister said, “We have no desire to steal votes. We have done so much work, it is up to the people to vote for us; if they don’t, we won’t stay on.”

She disagreed with BNP Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir’s apprehension that the country will sink into a constitutional crisis if Parliament is not dissolved before the national election is held.

“There will be no constitutional crisis,” Hasina said, advising the opposition to read the Constitution carefully.

When asked if she will remain the Prime Minister until the next election, Hasina declined a categorical answer, saying everything would be in line with the Constitution.

Will elections be fair under a BNP government, if the party were to come to power, Hasina asked.

“The people will judge if someone does something wrong. What is the need for alarm then? If you stay straight, so will everything else.”

The Prime Minister began her press conference by blaming the BNP’s stance for stonewalling chances of a dialogue.

She said she had proposed talks with their arch rival BNP at her last press conference in Ganabhaban on Apr 3.

“She (Khaleda Zia) did not respond; instead, she gave me a 48-hour ultimatum, saying I will not have any way to escape.”

The Prime Minister had said in April that she would not mind reaching a ‘compromise’ with the opposition regarding an all-party election-time Cabinet. But, she maintained that the election would have held in a ‘democratic way’.

Hasina again reminded the opposition, campaigning for an interim government, about the experience of having an army-backed caretaker government that held on to power for two years.

“We want to guide you to light, and you want more darkness?

The Awami League will be alert against those who want to usurp power by violating the Constitution.

 

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