The Jatiya Oikya Front led by Gono Forum chief Dr Kamal Hossain is not pleased with the general election being delayed only by a week. The coalition, which includes the BNP, says the Election Commission is working “exactly how the government wants it to”.
But it has decided to continue with its plan to contest in the election, now scheduled for Dec 30, and keep an eye on the commissions activities, according to Gono Forum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury.
“It appears that this is a government-controlled Election Commission. The CEC is working on their (governments) behalf,” he told bdnews24.com on Monday night after the EC gazetted the new election day.
The Oikya Front had decided to join the election despite the government refusing to meet its seven-point charter of demand and urged the EC to push back the voting by a month.
But AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury-led Jukto Front had demanded the election be deferred by a week.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda earlier on Monday announced the decision to hold back the polls by a week.
“Its (a week) not enough,” Subrata said before claiming the CEC has set the new schedule “just like he had announced the old one on government orders”.
The Oikya Front had also demanded deferral of the announcement, but the EC announced it last Thursday with Dec 23 as the voting day citing constitutional obligation.
“The Awami League general secretary (Obaidul Quader) said they had no objection to any move to defer the polls half an hour after the news conference on the deferral.
“We asked that the polls be pushed back by a month. And they have deferred it by a week. Where did they get this idea? It seems they made a schedule exactly how the government wants it to be,” Subrata said.
He also said the Oikya Front leaders would go to the EC soon to discuss the current state of politics after the deferral of the polls schedule.
“We are keeping a sharp eye on the Election Commission. We will also watch what the government does,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Quader told the media that the ruling party had no objection if the EC revised the schedule according to demands from the opposition parties who wish to take part in the polls.
He also said he believed the Oikya Front would have joined the polls even if its demand for deferral of the elections was not met.