New opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front top leader Dr Kamal Hossain on Sunday demanded replacement of Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda for failing to play a neutral role and creating a congenial atmosphere ahead of the 11th parliament polls rescheduled for December 30.
Kamal, also Gono Forum president, made the demand at a news conference at National Press Club organised by his party.
‘We couldn’t be satisfied after talking to him (Chief Election Commissiner),’ Forum president said adding that they demand that he be replaced with a credible person.
Responding to a question related to neutrality, Kamal pointed out that we still have time to think through the matter, since he believe that the incumbent chief election commissioner cannot play a neutral role, whereas fairness is crucial for a free and inclusive election.
He also added that so far the election commissioner has not demonstrated neutrality as the recent incidents so glaringly suggest.
Referring to the election commissioner’s recent comment, Forum president asked the election commissioner, whether he gave the order for recent arrest of the opposition leaders and activists on logical ground or at the behest of the government.
‘If it was done at the behest of the government, it is not only an offense but a violation of the constitution,’ said Kamal, adding that they would take steps against it and would go to High Court.
He said that the name of the current election commissioner would remain in history as ‘a violator of the constitution’.
United News Bangladesh quotes Kamal who said that the police are a force of the state and they have to work for creating a proper election atmosphere, providing protection to the opposition parties.
Kamal came down hard on the government for initiating wholesale arrest and jailing of the opposition leaders and activists ahead of the elections, saying such incidents would create obstacle to hold free, fair and neutral polls.
He reiterated that an environment for fair elections has not yet been created.
Asked whether the election would be held according to the schedule, Kamal replied with a confident ‘inshallah (if Allah willing)’.
Private television channel Ekushey TV former chairman Abdus Salam joined Gono Forum at the news conference.
On behalf of Kamal Hossain, Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury said political activities are being carried out using Ganabhaban, ministers’ residences and government offices.
Despite the fact that they are a clear violation of the code of conduct, the election commission remains silent, he said.
Subrata alleged that the ruling party candidates and ministers are electioneering without hindrance while law enforcement agencies and administration have extended cooperation flouting protocols.
On the other hand, opposition candidates’ efforts are being obstructed when they are campaigning and are thus forced to hold indoor meetings at their respective constituencies, he added.
Maj Gen (retd) Amsaa Amin and Reza Kibria who recently joined Gono Forum addressed the news conference.
Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddique and Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu, among others, were present.
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