An influential 20-party alliance led by the BNP has announced that it will jointly compete in the looming nationwide election. LDP President and alliance leader Oli Ahmed made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
“We trust in the people and so the 20-party alliance, despite the adversity it faces, has decided to participate in the upcoming national parliamentary election as a coalition,” he said. “We are firmly committed to the continuance of democracy.”
“We believe there should be an opportunity for the people to deliver a verdict against the governments corruption, its lawlessness, its failure to return the Teesta waters and its boundless failure to protect the interests of the state. And so we will take part in the election.”
The BNP and six of its affiliate parties have sought the Election Commissions permission to run candidates under the paddy sheaf symbol.
A letter with a request signed by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was delivered to the Election Commission.
The letter requested that candidates from seven parties – the BNP, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Khelafat Majlish, the Jatiya Ganatantrik Party, the Bangladesh Muslim League and the Jamiote-Olamaye-Islam Bangladesh – be allowed to use the paddy sheaf symbol in the election.
Oli Ahmed said at the press conference on Sunday that the 20-party alliance hoped that it would come to an agreement with the Jatiya Oikya Front on joint participation in the coming elections.
He also echoed the Oikya Fronts demand for the election to be postponed by a month.
In his written statement, Ahmed also pressed for the release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, the dissolution of parliament, the creation of a level-playing field for the election, proper conduct from the Election Commission, and the prevention of harassment against activists from opposition parties.