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Govt to complete term despite polls dispute: AL leaders

Mahamudul Hasan

Senior Awami League leaders, as well as its grassroots leaders, admitted that the January 5 general elections had not been a participatory one in absence of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Most leaders, however, think the parliament would be able to complete its five-year term, as the BNP-led alliance has failed to build up any effective movement against the present government.
They reiterated that mid-term polls would only be possible if BNP sat for discussion after severing ties with Jamaat-e-Islami.
AL presidium member Mohammad Nasim said that the January 5 elections were not a completely representative one as BNP had not participated in it.
‘If BNP-Jamaat had not created panic among the people by burning polling stations and threatening voters, the scene would have been different and the voter turnout would have been higher,’ he said.
Nasim said the new government would continue for five years but it might give elections before completion of its tenure if the BNP severed its ties with Jamaat and sat for discussion.
AL presidium member Mosharraf Hossain said mid-term polls could be held with the participation of all political parties through discussions, but it would not be possible if BNP did not stop violence and terror and sit for a peaceful dialogue with the government, leaving the company of Jamaat.
AL advisory council member Suranjit Sengupta said that the BNP had committed a blunder by raising demands beyond the constitution that
made the January 5 polls being short of a participatory one.
About a possible mid-term election, Suranjit said, ‘Everything depends on them [BNP] and which way they choose. It depends on whether they would leave Jamaat, stop violence and then sit for discussion,’ he added.
AL law affairs secretary Abdul Matin Khasru said that the January 5 polls were held to fulfill the constitutional requirement.  He said that the new government might hold a participatory election anytime for the sake of peace, but a peaceful discussion was necessary for it.
Grassroots leaders also viewed that despite being elected through an election boycotted by the opposition, the new government would be able to complete its term.
Moin Uddin Mandal, general secretary of Chapainawabganj district AL, said with the January 5 polls the government had managed to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Bagerhat AL general secretary Sheikh Kamruzzaman Tuku said the BNP, if not backed by any international quarters, would not be able to overthrow the new government. ‘Though the elections were not an inclusive one, it was an election in which people cast votes ignoring threats and violence,’ he said.
Tushar Kanti Mandal, general secretary Rangpur city AL, said that the January 5 elections were better than the February 15, 1996 elections in many respects and therefore carried more legitimacy.          

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