People have no interest in city polls: Fakhrul

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul IslamFile photo

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday said the people have no interest in the city polls being held under the election commission which is regulated by the government.

Speaking at a discussion programme, he also feared that the upcoming elections to the five city corporations will be stage-managed even though BNP is not fielding any candidate.

“They (govt) have completely destroyed the election system by using the state machinery. The election commission is under the control of the government. People are not interested in the election taking place in the country,” the BNP leader said.

He said opposition parties are not fielding candidates in most of the city corporation elections due to the “collapsed’ election system.

"Arif (Ariful Haque Chowdhury) is a very popular two-time mayor in Sylhet and the people of Sylhet want him to see as mayor again. In a public meeting, Arif yesterday (Saturday) said this election will never be accepted as the government has made a blueprint. So, there is no point in going to this election as it will be meaningless,” Fakhrul said.

He said the people of Sylhet City shed tears as their beloved leader decided against participating in the election.  “He (Arif) clearly said this election will be meaningless and no election will be fair under this government.”

A faction of the Jatiya Gonotantrik Party (Jagpa) arranged the programme at the National Press Club, marking the party founder Shafiul Alam Pradhan’s sixth death anniversary.

Fakhrul said all the authoritarian and fascistic regimes destroy the election system and use the stage-managed voting a tool to hang onto power.

“So, We would like to say it very clearly that there will be no free and fair elections if the current government remains in power…the election must be held under an impartial caretaker government,” he said.

Fakhrul said the government has taken the election system to such a situation that ruling the party’s alliance partner and Workers Party President, Rashed Khan Menon, said a few days back that they do not want ‘planned’ elections.

“The message is very clear that Awami League holds planned elections and he (Menon) does not want such polls. Another state minister said that the ministers create syndicates here and they increase the prices of commodities,” the BNP leader observed.

Referring to a World Bank report, he said Bangladesh is the champion of default loans. “Bangladesh has even surpassed Sri Lanka in this regard.”

The BNP leader said the number of loan defaulters is increasing in the country as the ruling party leaders, including the ministers, do not repay after borrowing crores of taka.

Fakhrul also warned the BNP rank and file not to be confused by different ‘evil games’ by the government ahead of the national election.

“We must remain united to free our leader Begum Khaleda Zia, ensure the return of our leader Tarique Rahman to the country, restore democracy, people’s voting rights and establish equality…the movement has already begun. We all have to take to the streets with all strengths to take it a final stage for establishing a caretaker government ousting the current regime,” he said.