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Bangla opposition party to boycott polls
January 03, 2007 14:41 IST
Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami League-led key political alliance in Bangladesh on Wednesday decided to boycott the January 22 national elections alleging that free and fair polls were not possible under the present caretaker government.
"We have decided not to take part in the elections as we can't give legitimacy to any poll that is set to be rigged under a blueprint," Hasina told a crowded press conference in Dakha.
Her alliance partners, including former military ruler H M Ershad of Jatiya Party and ex-president Badruddoza Chowdhury of Liberal Democratic Party, joined her.
"We want to take part in the polls that will reflect the people's will, but that is not possible keeping President Iajuddin Ahmed as the chief adviser of the interim caretaker government," she said.
She alleged that Ahmed was illegally holding the post of interim government chief and he wants to hold elections without a correct voter list.
Hasina said her alliance had tried everything possible to take part in the polls knowing it well that Ahmed is neither non-partisan nor neutral, but expecting him to act in line with the constitution in the interest of the people.
"But it appeared impossible as we continued to witness that he is acting under the diktat of Hawa Bhaban to engineer the polls," she said in an oblique reference to her arch rival former Prime Minister and leader of Bangladesh National Party Khaleda Zia.
Hasina said her alliance would take part in the polls only after the resignation of Ahmed from the post of the chief advisor, publication of a flawless draft electoral roll scrapping the rigged one, removal of the current attorney general and chiefs of the intelligence agencies and withdrawal of partisan officials engaged in the election process.
"The election commission had promised to correct the voters roll, but instead they scrapped the names of our supporters and put in names of a huge number of fake voters as part of the election engineering process," Hasina said.The mega alliance after a protracted street campaign made an abrupt shift to poll campaign two weeks ago as the election commission promised to correct the rigged electoral roll and a controversial election commissioner went on a long leave.