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Awami League Terms BNP’s 27-Point Rainbow Nation Proposal ‘Stunt’

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has vowed to contest the election only if the government resigns and a caretaker government is formed.

Image Courtesy: Flickr

The ruling Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League party of Bangladesh has termed its main rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) 27-point proposal for establishing a ‘Rainbow Nation’, or a National Unity Government, with like-minded political parties a “political stunt” and a ploy to “recognise war criminals”.

If everything goes well, according to Awami League’s plan, the 12th National Parliamentary election is going to be held after one year. The Hasina government has promised to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ if it is re-elected.

On the other hand, the BNP has vowed to contest the election only if the Awami League government resigns and a caretaker government is formed. According to the BNP proposal, the National Unity Government will introduce massive reforms to the Constitution, judiciary and administration if the BNP is voted into power.

The BNP held a series of mass meetings in 10 organisational divisions across the country beginning October 12 that concluded with a massive meeting in Dhaka on December 10 where the party announced a mass rally on December 24 and a 10-point charter of demands, including the government’s resignation and the restoration of the election-time caretaker government system to restore democracy in the country.

One of the demands is free, fair and impartial elections after which a ‘Rainbow Nation’ will be formed by combining all parties who want to topple the government. The National Unity Government will do whatever is necessary to improve the democratic system by cancelling “anti-people” laws.

Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain, a member of the BNP’s National Standing Committee, presented the ‘State Structure Repair Outline’ as part of the anti-government movement on December 19.

In this context, the 27-point proposal states that the “democratic rights of the people will be re-established by re-introducing the referendum system in the Constitution. The BNP aims to establish an “inclusive, non-discriminatory and harmonious Rainbow Nation on the basis of Bangladeshi nationalism, encompassing all views and paths as opposed to the politics of revenge”.

A ‘non-party caretaker government’ will be introduced to “restore democracy and suffrage and give permanent constitutional and institutional form to a transparent democratic process”.

According to the proposal, no one can serve as president or prime minister for more than two consecutive terms. Besides, voting will be ensured through paper ballots, not EVMs, at all centres.

The BNP has promised no compromise in corruption cases. A white paper mentioning investigations into money laundering and corruption in the last decade-and-a-half will be published and legal action will be taken against the people identified in it.

Besides, the BNP wants to “eliminate the disparity between the rich and the poor through an equitable distribution of the benefits of growth in terms of equality and social justice”. Based on the principle of ‘Religion belongs to each, state belongs to all’, every person will enjoy the full right to practice his/her own religion.

The Awami League dubbed the BNP proposal a “stunt”. “It is a stunt just like their Vision 2030, which is now in the deep freezer,” party general secretary and road transport minister Obaidul Quader said at a food sub-committee meeting in Dhaka on Tuesday.

“The BNP is the origin of lies. They do not tell the truth. The people of this country are not so stupid as to trust BNP,’ Quader further said claiming “people will not be confused”.

Awami League joint general secretary and information minister Hasan Mahmud termed BNP’s proposal of reforms ridiculous.

Amir Hossain Amu, coordinator-spokesperson of the 14-party alliance and adviser of Awami League, alleged that the proposal intends to “re-establish the 1971 War criminals and anti-independence elements”.

“The BNP plans to give another round of state recognition to the defeated forces, murderers and war criminals through Rainbow Nation,” Amu said alleging that the BNP is “actually trying to unconstitutionally seize power” by proposing to amend the Constitution.

“The BNP’s politics will be rejected by the people like in the past. The BNP earlier presented charters of 10 and 14 points. These 27 points are not new. We will fight militancy, communalism and fundamentalism unitedly,” Amu added.

Meanwhile, leaders of the new seven-party alliance Ganatantra Manch, formed a few months ago, have responded positively to BNP’s 27-points proposal. Mahmudur Rahman Manna, president of Nagorika Oikya, one of the alliance partners, said that the proposal calls for a qualitative change.

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