EC invites BNP to join discussion, but leaders in jail or hiding

Logos of EC and BNP

The election commission (EC) has sent letters to 44 registered political parties to attend a discussion meeting on progress of the preparation of the twelfth parliamentary election.

BNP has also been invited to the meeting although three top leaders of the party are incarcerated and most of the leaders are hiding.

The meeting is scheduled to be held on 4 November.

The EC confirmed that the letters were sent on Wednesday.

EC’s public relations director Md Shariful Alam said the BNP’s letter has been sent to its Naya Paltan office.

At least 42 cases have so far been filed after BNP’s grand rally on 28 October was foiled over clashes with police. The police then cordoned off the Naya Paltan office of the party. Law enforcers remain deployed in front of the office the whole time.

BNP’s assistant office secretary Taiful Islam told Prothom Alo that the party’s central office is still under police control. There is none to receive the letter of the EC since the office is under lock and key.

The EC in the letters said it has a constitutional obligation to hold the next election between 31 October and 28 January. The commission has organised a meeting to discuss the overall situation including preparation for the parliamentary election.

Chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal will preside over the discussion which will be attended by other commissioners.

The EC requested the political parties to send their president and secretary or two other appropriate delegates to the meeting.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was sent to jail on Sunday. Standing committee member Mirza Abbas and joint secretary general Moazzem Hossain Alal have been taken to five-day remand each today.

Journalists today asked EC secretary Jahangir Alam what EC will do if BNP says it does not have any appropriate delegation to send since the top leaders are either in jail or in hiding.

“No comments,” replied the EC secretary.