‘Solution possible if Hasina steps down’

REF:  Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad has said the only solution to the ongoing political deadlock is for Sheikh Hasina to resign.


“The BNP might decide to join the polls if Sheikh Hasina steps down as Prime Minister. Because, the BNP feels the election will be rigged if Hasina remains at the helm of the executive,” the former military dictator told the BBC Bengali Service in an interview on Sunday.

Ershad also cleared his stand on the election.”BNP is the main opposition. An election without them will not be acceptable and the unrest will not end as well.”

The ruling Awami League has made it clear that it will stick to its plan to hold the polls under a government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The BNP has rejected it and continues its movement to stop the polls slated for Jan 5.The ongoing violence during the Opposition blockades in the last three weeks had led to more than 50 deaths.

“The movement will continue. People will continue to die, even burnt to death. An election in this situation will not be appropriate at all,” said the head of Jatiya Party, a key ally of the Awami League-led Grand Alliance government for the last five years.

On Dec 3, Ershad had announced that they are not joining the polls, a day after its candidates filed nominations with the Election Commission.

The next day he asked aspirants to withdraw nominations and ministers to resign from the interim cabinet.According to Ershad, the atmosphere is not conducive for an election.

It’s final that Jatiya Party is not going to the polls and there should be no confusion over it, the former military dictator insisted.

He told the BBC that the JP members who were part of the interim cabinet have already resigned and that their resignations have been sent by post.

Ruling Awami League leaders, however, still think that Ershad is with them and could take part in the Jan 5 polls.

Ershad told the BBC that many in the BNP were opting for the elections and even campaigning silently, which has led him to conclude that the BNP might join the polls at the eleventh hour.But Ershad said the Awami League was wrong to think he would go with them.

“This is their wishful thinking. I have been saying for the last four years that I would go for the polls separately (not as a stakeholder in an alliance). I will not be used as the means to assume power for someone else.”

In the interview, the former military dictator, however, denied cutting any deal with anyone while joining the interim cabinet or initially agreeing to participate in the polls.


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