No decision on contesting polls yet: 20-party Alliance

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 22:04, Nov 10, 2018 | Updated : 22:15, Nov 10, 2018

Liberal Democratic Party chief Oli Ahmed has replaced BNP’s Nazrul Islam Khan as the chief coordinator of the 20-party Alliance. FILE PHOTO

The 20-party Alliance led by the BNP is yet to decide on the contesting the general election slated for Dec 23.
“We are yet to decide on the matter,” said LDP chief Oli Ahmed, the newly-appointed chief coordinator of the coalition, on Saturday after a meeting of the allies.
Speaking to the media, he said, “We will let the nation know after finalising it over the next two days in key meetings with major ally BNP and the Jatiya Oikya Front.”
The release of BNP chief Khaleda Zia is imperative for a congenial atmosphere for the polls, said Ahmed, before adding: “An equal opportunity for everyone is yet to be created and it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure it.”
Responding to a query, he said Saturday’s meeting of the allies discussed on whether to contest the polls. “The government assured of a level playing field, which we think is yet to be assured. Everyday opposition activists, especially of the BNP are being detained. This has to stop.”
On the Election Commission’s Sunday deadline to coalitions for reporting on polls symbols, he said, “If we (the LDP) join the election then it will be on our symbol, several others in the 20-party Alliance will use the BNP’s sheaf of paddy.”
Ahmed presided over the alliance’s meeting held at the BNP chief’s Gulshan offices, which were attended by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Abdul Halim, Khelafote Majlish’s Mawlam Ishaq, BJP’s Andaleeve Rahman, Bangladesh Kalyan Party’s Syed Muhammad Ibrahim among the representatives from all the allies.
People familiar with the discussions at the meeting said that the BNP sought opinions from its allies over joining the polls. Sixteen of them said they wanted to contest the election while three were against it.
According to them, BJP’s Andaleeve Rahman said he thinks the coalition should not take part in the election considering the current situation when Democratic League General Secretary Saifuddin Ahmed Moni echoed.
Jamaat’s Halim, LDP’s Oli Ahmed and Kalyan Party’s Ibrahim said that if the BNP decides to take part then they will follow, said the sources.
BNP told the allies that it will open the negotiation of parliamentary seats with allies in a few days, if the Jatiya Oikya Front gives the green signal on joining the polls.