Jatiya Party contesting the election due to assurance

Awami League started holding meetings with leaders of the 14-party alliance, as well as Jatiya Party over seat sharing in the forthcoming 12th parliamentary election, slated to be held on 7 January. Prothom Alo’s Selim Zahid talked to Mujibul Haque Chunnu, General Secretary of the 14-party alliance partner Jatiya Party, about the matter on Thursday.

Prothom Alo:

How far have you discussed the seat sharing issue with Awami League?

There was no discussion about seats.

Prothom Alo :

Then what did you discuss?

We discussed issues regarding holding a good election that ends satisfactorily and police’s help to the election commission in this regard.

Prothom Alo :

What assurances did you receive?

They said they would extend all help the election commission needs for holding a fair, peaceful and unobstructed election. They further said they would not interfere in the affairs of the EC and order the party activists would not to do anything forcefully in the independent workings of the election commission. They also said they would take steps to create an environment where the voters could come to cast their votes without any bar.

Prothom Alo:

We you reassured?

We want to believe them. There is no other way.

Prothom Alo :

Such reassurance was given in 2018 too…

We said the same things at that time too. But truly there is no other way.

Prothom Alo :

Until now the Jatiya Party chairman said the election under this government will not be fair. How could you be reassured now?

The election commission also strongly asserted that they would create an environment so that the election could be considered a good election, voters could come and cast their votes. There is nothing to do but accept this.

Prothom Alo:

That means you do not seek any understanding over seat sharing, you only want a fair election?

No. We did not have any discussion on seat sharing. We want a fair election. We hope to secure a majority if the election if free and fair.

Prothom Alo :

BNP is not contesting in the election. Do you hope to get those votes?

Of course. BNP and we share the same votes. We never can expect to get the votes of Awami League if there is a candidate of their own in any constituency. But we can hope to get the anti-Awami League votes. In that case we think we would do better.

Prothom Alo :

Was this then the strategy of the Jatiya Party? The Jatiya Party was waiting for this strategy until now to draw the BNP votes?

Jatiya Party can have many more strategies for the election. It’s not that we will reveal all the strategies.

Prothom Alo:

Do you think you can win if you contest the election with the plough symbol?

If people vote then you can win with any symbol. But symbols won’t do much if people do not vote for you. We believe we would do better if we could get the anti-Awami League votes.

Prothom Alo :

Do you fear any occupation of the polling centres this time too?

We have been joining the election due to the assurances given to us. If something like that happens, we shall immediately think of our next course of action.

* The interview was originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza