Dr Kamal doubts election will be neutral

Gonoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain addresses at a discussion on the occasion of the party’s 30th founding anniversary in Dhaka on 29 August 2023.
Ashraful Alam

Gonoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain has expressed doubt that the next parliamentary election will be held in a free, fair and neutral manner and his party has placed six proposals on election on his behalf.

“We fear the election will not be fair and neutral. People must unite so that election is conducted in a fair and neutral manner,” he said.

Dr Kamal Hossain expressed his concern while making these remarks at a discussion at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday. Gonoforum organised the discussion on its 30th founding anniversary with the slogan “Let’s unite to establish democracy, justice and the right to vote” with its president Dr Kamal Hossain in the chair.

Speakers at event strongly condemned the lawsuit filed to harass against Nobel Peace Prize laureate economist Dr Muhammad Yunus.

As he was ill, Dr Kamal Hossain addressed the event briefly. He said, “We have been running this organisation for 30 years. Today, the unity of people is very necessary. I only appeal, let us work together for national unity, and once we are united we will achieve our vision. We want a free, fair and neutral election.”

Dr Kamal Hossain thanked the participants for being with Gonoforum. Prior to this, Gonoforum general secretary Mizanur Rahman read out a written speech.

In his written speech, Mizanur Rahman said election was one-sided and without voters in 2014 while it was conducted at night in 2018. In such circumstances, the nation is extremely concerned and anxious over the next national election.

Mizanur Rahman placed six proposals on behalf of the Dr Kamal Hossain. These are: (1) formation of a neutral polls-time caretaker government through dialogue with all political parties for holding a free, fair and participatory election; (2) reconstitution of the election commission with credible persons; (3) ensuring freedom of speech, independence of newspapers, electronic media, social media, as well as freedom of political parties to hold rallies and gatherings and not to prevent them from playing a neutral role ahead of election; (4) polls-time government must ensure level playing field in election; (5) withdrawal of false and repressive cases against leaders and activists of the opposition immediately, and (6) ensuring appointment of local and foreign observers to ensure transparency in the election.

Dr Kamal Hossain, in reply to a query, said these proposals have been placed to break away from polls-violence.

The event was started with the national anthem at 11:00am.

In his address of welcome, Mizanur Rahman said the Gonoforum was founded 30 years ago for healthy politics outside terrorism, corruption and broken politics. Many leaders left Gonoforum and became members of parliament and cabinet, but Dr Kamal Hossain never compromised.

Gonoforum presidium member and lawmaker Mokabbir Khan said, “Unscrupulous politics has started on the country. People respect Dr Muhammad Yunus and Dr Kamal Hossain across the world, but they face smear campaigns in the country.”

Presidium member Abdullah Al Mahmud, Bir Prakist said, “The country does not have the democracy for which we had fought during the liberation war.”