‘Elections were open for everyone; they did not come’

Ruhul Amin, Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
photo: Barta24

photo: Barta24

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One more month left for the 12th parliamentary elections. Like-minded parties including BNP did not participate in the election. The game of hide and seek is going on with the Grand Alliance. There is domestic and foreign pressure to make elections fair, participatory and acceptable. At the same time, the visa policy and economic sanctions of the United States are eye-popping.

Awami League's Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim spoke to Barta24.com about this.

Interviewed by Barta24.com Staff Correspondent Ruhul Amin.

Barta24.com: Bangladesh is now in a very sensitive position geopolitically. Many countries including Europe, USA, Russia, and China are now focusing on the politics and elections of Bangladesh. Moreover, there are rumors that sanctions may come from USA after the election. What does the Awami League think about this?

Bahauddin Nasim: Now nobody can throw us into the Bay of Bengal if they want to. Not in that place. Because it's not just about our will alone, they also have issues, they also have needs. They need it; we need it, the world as a whole. But yes, some are a bit more powerful, some are a bit less powerful. But still the relationship is mutual and multilateral. No one can throw away our economy where it stands. Then they would have finished us earlier with sanctions.

A part rich in negative thinking always sees bad things. Those who cannot dream of good things speak and spread such words. It is also a form of information terrorism. They know very well what stage the economy of Bangladesh is at; we have become a developing nation. But we are recognized internationally. There was such propaganda that the peacekeeping force of Bangladesh will not be taken anymore. Is it possible if you want? Our soldiers have reached number one with professionalism and bravery.

Barta24.com: Recently, Uganda and Zimbabwe have been imposed sanctions and visa bans on allegations of election rigging. Is there a possibility of something like this happening in Bangladesh?

Bahauddin Nasim: Who gave it there, for what reason? It must be explained. There they made laws to prevent the election of parties that could win or form a government with the people's mandate. They were not allowed to participate in the elections. It has not been done in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh they are given all kinds of opportunities to choose. This right has been given to them. They didn't come to the contrary are giving blockades, attacks and arson. So what is the incident of Bangladesh and Cambodia? This truth should be presented to the people of Bangladesh.

Barta24.com: Did Awami League took any initiative to bring BNP and other parties to the election?

Bahauddin Nasim: We will go to the elections, we will participate in the elections. All the registered political parties in Bangladesh should participate in the elections with motivation, to get the people's mandate. They want to overthrow the government and come to the elections without trying to get the people's mandate. Is it constitutionally recognized? Why will the people of the country accept what they want outside of the constitutional rules?

They did not say that they will come to the election. Now they cannot be brought to the election by hand. Or they can't be forced to participate in elections by beating them with sticks, sending the police and catching them. It is his democratic right. What is said here, if the election stands, their nomination will be canceled? Or will they be arrested and sent to prison when they go to file nomination papers in the election? Has there been any such action?

Barta24.com: Does BNP still have a chance to participate in the elections?

Bahauddin Nasim: How? The train is now on its way to reach the modern station of Cox's Bazar.

Barta24.com: Some said that Awami League is creating division in the grassroots by fielding independent or dummy candidates for competitive elections. Tension is being created with this, fights are also happening somewhere. What steps will Awami League take to prevent a long division?

Bahauddin Nasim: We want to hold elections in a festive atmosphere. We want the atmosphere of festival to be created in the election. But already the festive mood of the election has been created. That is what is most important to us.

Independent candidates are constitutionally allowed to stand. Awami League candidates are also independent in some places. It has stood in the past as well. We want popular candidates to be elected by popular vote. That will strengthen democracy. This is our main goal. We are not taking any initiative to forcibly remove anyone from nomination or election. Those who are more popular will be elected, there is nothing wrong here.

Barta24.com: Awami League's grassroots workers are getting divided in favor of boats and independents as they are independent candidates from Awami League. In that case the staff will be with whom? Boat or individual?

Bahauddin Nasim: They will move towards their choice. Since no specific direction has been given by the party so far, what does it mean? What does it mean? But our leaders and workers will understand this. But you also have to understand.

Barta24.com: Many of the senior leaders say that it will be the independent candidates who will face action against them. But you say we will not take any action. Confusion is being created, what do you say about this?

Bahauddin Nasim: There is no confusion among us. If someone says it, ask him. Our core spirit is that elections should be participatory. There are about three thousand candidates in the election, if they participate in the election, is it good or bad? If more candidates participate in the election, those who are popular will win. It is normal that many will get more votes, many will get less. The General Secretary of our party has written about the spirit of the party. That's clear. That is, those who are standing in the 14 parties have also been informed about this matter. They should not withdraw.

Barta24.com: You have been given the responsibility of distributing the seats of the 14 party alliance, how far have you progressed on the matter?

Bahauddin Nasim: We are in discussion. It will end soon. Earlier I said it will be completed by 16-17. I think it will be over before then.

Barta24.com: The partner parties want more seats, in that case, will Awami League distribute the seats according to the expectations of the partners?

Bahauddin Nasim: It is not right to say the matter like this. It is only a matter of getting and wanting. Winnable candidate is given importance in the election. We have told 14 parties that winnable candidates must be given importance.

Barta24.com: Rashed Khan Menon, the president of your ally Workers’ Party, was the Member of Parliament from Dhaka-8 Constituency in the last three elections. Now you have been given the boat for the first time from the seat. How much cooperation partners in the electoral field?

Bahauddin Nasim: I had a conversation today with the former Member of Parliament and senior leader Menon (Worker’s Party President Rashed Khan Menon) brother of this constituency. Partners with us have good relationship both individually and as a team. Everything will end well. There are no new thoughts or fears about it.

Barta24.com: Got nomination from Dhaka-8 seat. If you win, what steps will you take to meet the expectations of the people of the area?

Bahauddin Nasim: Besides doing party work, I will also sit with the activists. It seems to me that there is enthusiasm among people. Awami League field workers, grassroot workers are very happy . I don't consider myself a worthy person. But I understand that you don't have to struggle much to win here. Another thing I think is that the voters will come to the polling station. Will vote for me as Awami League candidate regardless of party opinion.


Mirza Abbas granted bail, no bar to release

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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A court has granted bail to BNP Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas in the case of Dhaka Railway Police. As he has been granted bail in all 11 cases related to the October 28 mass rally, there is no more bar to his release from prison.

On Monday (February 19), Dhaka's Chief Judicial Magistrate Julhas Uddin's court granted the bail.

Earlier, BNP Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas was granted bail in a case lodged at the capital's Ramna police station in connection with the attack on the Chief Justice's residence on Sunday (February 18).

After October 28, six cases were filed against Mirza Abbas in Paltan police station of the capital. And four cases were registered in Ramna police station. A case was filed with Dhaka Railway Police Station.

The detective police arrested Mirza Abbas from Shahid Bagh in Dhaka on the night of October 31. He has been in prison ever since.


No bar to release Fakhrul, Khasru from jail

Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury

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A Dhaka court has granted bail to BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and its Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury in a case filed for attacking Chief Justice's residence. There is no bar to their release from jail as they were granted bail in all the 11 cases filed over the October 28 rally.

Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court Acting Judge Faisal Atiq Bin Kader granted the bail on Wednesday.

Additional Public Prosecutor Taposh Kumar Paul confirmed the bail information.

Lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder said that the case was an obstacle to the release of Mirza Fakhrul and Amir Khasru. There is no bar to their release as now they are granted bail. Advocate Zainul Abedin appeared for the accused. Advocate Asaduzzaman, Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon and Barrister Masud Ahmed Talukder also stood for bail in the case.

They prayed for bail considering the illness, age and social status of the accused. Dhaka Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu opposed the bail on behalf of the state.

After hearing both sides, the court granted them bail on a bond of Tk 5,000.

There are allegations that BNP activists and supporters carried out sabotage activities at the Chief Justice's residence during the party's grand rally on October 28, 2023. A case was filed with Ramna Police Station against 59 BNP leaders and activists, including Mirza Fakhrul, over the incident. On October 29, Mirza Fakhrul was arrested from his Gulshan-2 residence. He has been in jail since then.

Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested Amir Khasru from his Gulshan residence around 1:45am on November 2. The next day, on November 3, the court granted a six-day remand. He was sent to jail on November 9 after remand.


Awami League nominates candidates for reserved women seats

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Obaidul Quader briefs about the AL nominations for reserved seats in JS

Obaidul Quader briefs about the AL nominations for reserved seats in JS

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Awami League has announced the names of nomination seekers for the reserved women seats in the 12th Jatiya Sangsad.

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader announced the names on Wednesday afternoon.

The candidates are: Tarana Halim (Tangail), Sanjida Khanam (Dhaka), Nazma Akter, Farida Yasmin (Narsingdi), Monnujan Sufian (Khulna), Rokia Sultana, Naznin Nahar, Ashika Sulkana, Draupadi Devi (Thakurgaon), Kuheli Kuddus (Natore), Shammi Ahmed (Barisal), Ashika Sultana (Nilphamari), Runi Reza, Meher Afroz Chumki (Gazipur), Hasina Bari, Nazma Akhter, Dr Rokeya Sultana (Joypurhat) and Jebin Mahmud (Chapainawabganj).

Awami League will get 48 seats (including 10 for independents) out of 50 reserved seats in the 12th Parliament. Against these 48 seats, 1549 women collected and submitted Awami League nomination forms. The party earned Tk 7 crore 74 lac 5 thousand by selling nomination forms worth Tk 50,000 each. Nomination forms were sold from the party's central office on Bangabandhu Avenue from February 6 to 8.


"BNP could not be started even if many pushed it like an old car"

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com,Chattogram
photo: Collected

photo: Collected

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Foreign Minister and Joint General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Dr. Hasan Mahmud commented that BNP could not be started even though many domestic and foreign people pushed it like an old car.

The foreign minister said these things in the chief guest's speech at the memorial meeting of late president of Chattogram South District Awami League former Member of Parliament Moslem Uddin Ahmed on Monday (February 12) evening. This memorial meeting was organized on the occasion of the first death anniversary of Boalkhali Upazila Awami League President late Moslem Uddin Ahmed.

He said that BNP was like an old car that was sitting but could not be started even if pushed by many domestic and foreign people. To start this old car of BNP, the battery has to be changed. But they also have a obsolete battery in London. If this battery is not thrown away, the political car of BNP will never start again. Requesting BNP to be active, I will say that without a change in leadership, your party and politics will never survive.

The foreign minister said, so far the heads of state and government of 70 countries have congratulated our Prime Minister. Joe Biden has written a letter to the Prime Minister, saying he wants to work with the Bangladesh government. A few days later Rishi Sunak also sent a letter congratulating her. The Secretary General of the United Nations also wrote a letter to congratulate. Congratulations by all of the European Commission. So many congratulatory messages have never come before. The whole world has congratulated the government led by Sheikh Hasina, and expressed its desire to work with this government. And after seeing these, the BNP was confused for a few days and could not understand what to do.

Dr. Hasan Mahmud said that there were many conspiracies regarding the election. At first the conspiracy was to prevent the election, when it could not be prevented. Then the conspiracy was to disrupt the elections by creating sabotage. When they could not do that, then the plan was to make the election not acceptable at home and abroad. When the whole world is congratulating, then BNP said now we will distribute leaflets. You distribute leaflets; don't go to distribute petrol bombs. If you do that, you will be given lesson.  The late Moslem Uddin Ahmed, who became a leader from an activist, was mentioned by the foreign minister. Hasan Mahmud said that he became a leader from the back row workers of the procession. He was an example of how a worker can become a leader.

Boalkhali Upazila Awami League President Nurul Amin Chowdhury and General Secretary Upazila Chairman Rezaul Karim Raza conducted the commemoration meeting as a special guest. Chattogram South District Awami League President Bir Muktijodha Motaherul Islam Chowdhury MP, Member of Parliament for Chittagong-8 Constituency Md. Abdus Salam, South District Awami League Joint General Secretary Pradeep Das, Information and Research Secretary Abdul Quader Sujan and others were present.