BNP central leaders have said that they maintain their stand that there is no question of discussing the election until the Awami League government resigns. Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told newspersons, “We are clear about the next election. There can be no question of the election unless the Awami League government resigns and power is handed over to a neutral government.”

Meanwhile, after Awami League’s working committee meeting on Saturday, there have been discussions in political circles about the use of EVM in the coming general election. At the meeting, Awami League president Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina indicated that the EVM would be used in all 300 seats in the coming national polls.

What can you expect from those who do not allow meetings and rallies to be held, not even a milad (prayer gathering) to be held, who attack Eid get-togethers?
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Secretary General, BNP

AL general secretary Obaidul Quader indicated the same on Sunday. He said, the election will be fair. The votes will be cast through EVM. The election commission will be neutral. There is no cause for Mirza Fakhrul to be concerned.

BNP and other opposition parties, in the meantime, are discussing whether EVM is the AL government’s latest election strategy. The parties failed to pinpoint AL’s strategies in advance in the last two elections of 2014 and 2018 respectively.

In face of the opposition boycott and movement, 153 lawmakers were elected uncontested in the 2014 election. And in the 2018 election, though all parties contested, BNP failed to catch out the ploy of votes being cast in advance, on the night before the election. BNP and the other parties are still not clear about the strategy the government is adopting this time.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul on Sunday made their stand clear about EVM, “The issue of EVM arises later. We will not even take part in the election if Sheikh Hasina remains in power.”

Speaking to leaders of BNP and other opposition parties, it was learned that they are now focused on this government stepping down and for the election to be held under a neutral government. They have no other consideration at the moment. They have no faith in any assurance of the government concerning the election.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Sunday, Nagorik Oikya president Mahmudur Rahman Manna said, “The government has created such an environment in the country that a government official loses his job just by a phone call from a minister’s wife. Even a fool won’t believe that a free and fair election will be held under such a government.”

Ever since the 2018 election, BNP has continuously maintained that the Awami League government cannot be trusted or believed. The party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul spoke in this regard on Sunday at a press briefing held at the BNP Chairperson’s office in Gulshan.

Replying to a question at the press briefing, he said, “What can you expect from those who do not allow meetings and rallies to be held, not even a milad (prayer gathering) to be held, who attack Eid get-togethers?”

* The report, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten for English edition by Ayesha Kabir