Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has questioned the applications of Dr Kamal Hossain and members of the so-called civil society, who criticise the government on ethical grounds, for seeking Tarique Rahman’s approval for election nomination. She also asked what kind of democracy they want to establish in Bangladesh by accepting the leadership of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique, both convicted for corruption.
The Awami League chief spoke about the issues on Tuesday at a Ganabhaban where over 150 former military officers pledged their support to the ruling party in the upcoming election.
Referring to investigations into corruption allegations in Padma bridge project that found no proof of graft, Hasina said, “What is the position of those who described me as a corruption-riddled person in their speeches?"
She came down hard on those who have joined hands with the BNP “to restore democracy” after talking against terrorism and corruption.
“Where is the lack of democracy? Whom have they joined forces with to remove this deficiency?” she asked.
Gono Forum chief Dr Kamal recently formed the Jatiya Oikya Front with the BNP, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD of ASM Abdur Rab, Mahmudur Rahman Mannas Nagorik Oikya, and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya of Sultan Md Mansur Ahmed.
Abdul Kader Siddiques Krishak Sramik Janata League joined in later. BNP-leaning public health activist Zafrullah Chowdhury and some others known as members of the civil society are also in the Oikya Front.
The coalition is contesting in the parliamentary election slated for Dec 30 with the BNPs paddy sheaf logo.
The BNP, with Khaleda in jail and Tarique in self-exile, appears to be in a tight spot in Bangladeshs politics as it sat out of parliament for the past five years after staying away from the last general elections.
Khaleda and Tarique have been sentenced to 17 years in jail each in separate corruption cases. Tarique has also been sentenced to life in prison for the Aug 21, 2004 grenade attack targeting Hasina.
He is acting as the chief of the party from London, where he has been living for a decade. He also recently interviewed possible BNP nominees via video calls.
“Dr Kamal Hossain and those of the civil society, who have gathered under one umbrella, talk about ethics all the time. Now where is their ethics?” Hasina quipped.
“From whom are they getting nomination? Will they establish rule of law after getting nominated by people convicted of grenade attack, 10-truck arms haul, corruption?”
“And now they pledge to end militancy, corruption, terrorism and to develop the country. I dont know what development will be done by those who had left the country in ruins,” she added.