17 parties reject polls schedule, 15 welcome while 12 yet to disclose stance

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal addressing the nation while announcing polls schedule on 15 November

A total of 17 out of 44 registered political parties of the country rejected the polls schedule announced by the election commission (EC) on Wednesday evening.

Ruling Awami League (AL) and 14 other parties welcomed the polls schedule. The remaining 12 parties are yet to disclose their stance on the issue.

The ruling AL is gearing up for the election while Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has been waging movement demanding the polls held under a neutral administration.

Jatiya Party, which is the opposition party in parliament, has neither rejected nor welcomed the schedule. The party is still hoping of a consensus.

Jamaat-e-Islami, which lost its registration in a court order, termed the polls schedule ‘a blueprint of the ruling party’ and rejected it.

Chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal announced the schedule of the 12th parliamentary election on Wednesday. As per the schedule, the next general election will be held on 7 January.

Since the schedule was announced, many political parties and alliances have expressed their reactions to it.

BNP and its like-minded parties rejected the schedule of the election. Left Democratic Alliance and Ganatantra Mancha held rallies in Dhaka rejecting the schedule immediately after the CEC announced it.

The 12-party alliance which has been waging simultaneous movement with BNP and another alliance of like-minded parties issued statements rejecting the schedule. Many parties of these alliances are not registered with the EC.

The registered parties that have already rejected the schedule include BNP, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP), Biplabi Workers Party, Bangladesh Muslim League (BML), Islami Oikya Jote, Jamiat Ulamae Islam Bangladesh, Nationalist Democratic Movement (NDM), National People's Party (NPP), Gano Forum and Bangladesh Kalyan Party.

BNP senior joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi termed the election as ‘vote drama’ while rejecting the schedule.

The Left Democratic Alliance is also waging movement demanding the government’s resignation and election under a neutral administration. The alliances’ components Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and Socialist Party of Bangladesh (BASAD) rejected the schedule. Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (Bangladesh Jasad) also rejected the schedule. Islami Andolon Bangladesh protested the announcement of schedule for two days in Dhaka.

The EC on 4 November invited 44 parties to a dialogue ahead of the election. BNP and 17 other parties did not join the dialogue. Most of these parties also rejected the schedule.

15 parties welcome election schedule

Immediately after the CEC  announced the election schedule, the ruling AL took out processions welcoming it. AL general secretary Obaidul Quader in his reaction said the announcement of the schedule reflected people’s aspiration.

AL-led 14-party alliance hailed the announcement of the election schedule. The parties that welcomed the schedule include Jatiya Party (JP), Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASAD), Ganatantri Party, Islamic Front Bangladesh, Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation, Bilakpadhara Bangladesh, Zaker Party and Bangladesh Islamic Front.

BNP leaders have recently been complaining that the government is trying to split the opposition parties by forming some ‘King’s Party’ ahead of the election. Names of some relatively new parties-- Trinamool BNP, Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) and Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP)— appeared more as Kings parties. These parties welcomed the schedule.

12 parties yet to make clear stance

Jatiya Party (JaPa) was cautious in its reaction to the development. The party neither welcomed nor rejected the schedule.

JaPa secretary general Mujibul Haque Chunnu told Prothom Alo, “We hoped a way out can be found through discussion among all parties. There is still time although the schedule has been announced. We are yet to give up the hope of reconciliation.”    

The other parties that are yet to disclose their stance include Bangladesh Muslim League, Khelafat Majlish, Bangladesh Congress, Gano Front, Bangladesh Khelafat Movement, Bangladesh National Awami Party, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, Bangladesh Sangskritik Mukti Jot, Bangladesh National Awami Party-Bangladesh NAP, Bangladesh Jatiya Party and Krishak Sramik Janata League.

An alliance of five Islamic parties which consist of Khelafat Majlish urged the EC not to announce the schedule. These parties have not made their positions clear yet.