PM sees no need to reduce cabinet during elections

Moloy Saha and Mohiuddin Alamgir | Published: 23:15, Oct 22,2018 | Updated: 23:21, Oct 22,2018


Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a news conference on her recent visit to Saudi Arabia at Ganabhaban in Dhaka on Monday. — Focus Bangla photo

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday tacitly turned down newly formed opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front’s proposal for dialogue on the 11th parliamentary elections and their seven-point demand.
At a press conference at her Ganabhaban resident on her official visit to Saudi Arabia in October 16-19, she also hinted that the current cabinet would perform duties during the elections due by January 29, 2019, and it might not be reduced.
Welcoming the formation of the Jatiya Oikya Front, Hasina also said that the ruling Awami League was not at all worried about it.
The front on Sunday decided to hand over to the government its 11-point objective and 7-point demand, including resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament and formation of election-time party-neutral government through discussion with all political parties.
‘Let them place their demands. Points of the demands will keep rising. Let us see how far the demands can extend and then I will make my comments,’ Hasina replied to a query.
Asked for her stance on Jatiya Oikya Front’s proposal for a dialogue, the ruling Awami League president, said, ‘We are yet to get any letter from them. We will make a decision only after getting the letter.’
She made the comments when most political parties outside the ruling Awami League-led alliance continued putting forth similar demands like formation of election-time neutral government through discussion with all political parties and other sections of the society.
Replying to another query on the front, Hasina, also the ruling Awami League president, said that Kamal Hossain formed the alliance with ‘anti-liberation force, supporters of extremists, murderers, people sentenced for crimes and corruption.
‘What I can say about them, what is there politics, where is their politics,’ she said.
Kamal Hossain is one of the framer of the 1972 constitution why he is opposing provisions stipulated in that constitution, asked Hasina.
Asked whether and when she would form a small cabinet for the election-time, the prime minister posed a question had there any problem if the cabinet was not shortened during the elections.
She said that she had discussed the issue with dignitaries of many other democracies, including United Kingdom, Australia and India, and they told her that their cabinets continued functioning during elections.
She said that her government had taken so many projects which were ongoing and she about the progress of the projects if the cabinet were shortened.
‘Will it be possible for a minister to monitor so many projects under three or four ministries,’ she said.
‘Still we will take the matter of forming a small cabinet seriously if opposition can wage a movement,’ she said.
Hasina said that the next elections would be held at proper time facing all kinds of conspiracies. ‘We also want a free and fair election.’
The Election Commission is preparing
for the next polls and it will take place as per the commission’s schedule, she said.
Hasina once again said that a vested quarter was trying to create confusion so the democratic continuity might be disrupted in the country.
Replying to query on chaos in road transport accidents, the prime minister blamed pedestrians for fatal traffic accidents.
She said that the pedestrians must maintain traffic rules to curb the road accidents in the country.
The traffic rules are for all, and people will also have to abide by the rules along with transport workers in order to ensure road safety.
Replying to another query on Quota system in public service recruitment, the prime minister
said that the decision to abolish quota was made in the face of the public demands. 
Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader and foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali were present on the dais with the prime minister.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email