National Unity Process to declare combined programmes after setting goals

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Dr Kamal HossainAlthough significant opposition the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has reached an understanding with Jukta (United) Front and National Unity Process, they are yet to announce combined programmes ahead of the national elections.

Sources in the National Unity and Jukta Front said BNP is eager to declare combined programmes at the earliest while the rest of the alliance want to decide on post-election issues first.

The parties are to sit for a meeting to discuss the issues on Thursday.

Jukta Front and Unity Process leaders want to take a concrete decision on ensuring balance of power in the parliament and the government. They are also eager to ensure balance of power between the posts of the president and the prime minister. Decentralisation of power, appointment of ombudsman and ensuring independent judiciary are also among their demands.

The meeting, which is likely to be held at the residence of eminent jursit Kamal Hossain, might take decisions such as setting post-election goals, declaring uniform programmes and setting a name for the alliance.

Sources said, the leaders of the parties on Monday met at Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president (JSD) president ASM Abdur Rab’s Uttara residence. Three top leaders of BNP took part in the meeting, where they discussed on the 9-point demand of Jukta Front and Unity Process and 12-point demand of BNP.

JSD general secretary Abdul Malek Ratan and Gano Forum joint secretary AHM Shafiullah were given the responsibility to do the coordination between the sides. They will hand over the report to National Unity Process convener Kamal Hossain.

“All the parties have kinda similar demands regarding the national eleciton. There are no major differences on the other demands, too. We have started working on finding the right balance,” said AHM Shafiullah.

Some leaders of the Unity Process think that although the BNP has touched on the point of ensuring balance of power in their 12-point demand, it was not clear enough. Moreover, the issue of sharing of seats in the parliament is not settled yet.

BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, however, opined that the time is not ripe for discussing seat sharing.

In Monday’s meeting, the question of BNP led 20-party alliance’s inclusion in the National Unity Process was also discussed. BNP wanted inclusion of 18 parties except Jamaat in the process to strengthen the national alliance.

Jukta Front and National Unity leaders did not object to this point raised by BNP, said the sources present at the meeting.

On Jamaat, BNP leaders maintained that they should be left out of discussion as the party has lost its registration.

BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraaf told Prothom Alo that the leaders present at the meeting had reached ‘some form of consensus’.

The Unity Process would chalk out combined programmes upon declaration of their united demand and goals, Mosharraf added.

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