Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia on Saturday put forth six conditions for joining the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Delivering her opening speech at the party’s national executive committee meeting at Le Meridien hotel in the capital, the BNP chief urged the government to shun repression and create a peaceful atmosphere for the polls.
The conditions are holding the election under a polls-time neutral government, dissolving parliament before the elections, army deployment during the polls, ensuring a congenial atmosphere for voters to go to polling centres, allowing Election Commission to act neutrally and discarding the plan to use EVM.
Khaleda assured the party’s national executive committee that the country’s people, administration, police and armed forces were with the party.
She called on the party leaders and activists to stay united and fight together if any crisis arose over the upcoming court verdict in a corruption case against her.
During the closed door session, Khaleda warned tough organisational action if anybody of the party took any ‘imprudent’ step, said leaders emerging from the meeting.
She also asked the party’s top executive body members not to act against the administration, they said.
She said that at worst she might go to jail in the ‘conspiratorial’ graft case when many of her party were languishing in jail, according to a leader attending the meeting.
Khaleda concluded her speech with a call to maintain unity at any cost.
The party’s top executive body met at a time when a special judge court, set up at Alia Madrasa in the capital, set February 8 for verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust case against Khaleda, her son BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman and four others.
‘Wherever I stay, I am and will be with you. No fear, intimidation, greed changed my stance in the past, nor will in future,’ Khaleda told the meeting.
Office bearers and members of the executive committee including presidents of the party’s district units, national standing committee members and BNP chairperson’s advisory council members attended the meeting that started at 11: 00am and ended around 6:00pm.
This is the first meeting of the national executive committee after announcement of its 502-member committee in August 2016.
Khaleda said that the lower court was now in the ‘grip’ of the government and the judges would not be able to deliver just verdict as they must obey the government.
She, hinting at the example of justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, mentioned that a judge was forced to leave the country for delivering a judgement.
About the two graft cases against her, she alleged that the incumbent government at gun point compelled people to make ‘false’ confessional statements.
Khaleda urged leaders and activists of her party and BNP-led alliance to wage protests and build up united resistance against injustice in a democratic, peaceful and constitutional manner.
She also urged people to join the programmes peacefully.
Khaleda once again called upon all political parties to build national unity at this critical juncture to restore democracy and stop political persecution.
She said around 18.50 lakh of her party leaders and activists across the country were implicated in 78,000 cases by the Awami League government.
She alleged that about 400 leaders and activists were arrested in the last few days.
She blamed the government for grossly politicising the administration to win the elections with its cooperation.
She assured that those party leaders and activists who had played role in the past movements were honoured and would be rewarded if her party would come to power through a fair and inclusive general election under a non-party neutral government.
Khaleda said her party was an election-oriented party and would want change of power only through election, not by other means.
The BNP chairperson said no EVM and DVM would be allowed in the election and army must be deployed in the election and the parliament dissolved.
A video speech of BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, who has been staying in London since September 2008, was played in the meeting.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir read out the organisational report while joint secretary general Mahbub Uddin Khokon read out the condolence resolution.
The meeting observed one-minute silence for those party leaders, activists and national and international eminent persons who died after BNP’s national council session on March 19, 2016.
After the inaugural session, the national executive committee went into a closed door session around 1:30pm. A total of 42 leaders addressed the session.