Sheikh Hasina`s mega alliance to boycott polls
Bangladesh main opposition alliance leader Sheikh Hasina speaks at a
press conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh recently. -AP
Putting a question mark on parliamentary elections in Bangladesh
scheduled for January 22, the main opposition alliance led by Sheikh
Hasina Wajed Wednesday announced a boycott of the polls, saying it
cannot be free and fair under President Iajuddin Ahmed.
"We have decided not to take part in the election as we can`t give
legitimacy to any poll which is set to be rigged under a blueprint,"
former Prime Minister and Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina told a
crowded press conference here.
Flanked by alliance partners including former military ruler H M
Ershad of Jatiya Party and ex-president Badruddoza Chowdhury of Liberal
Democratic Party, she said they had tried "everything possible" to take
part in the polls "knowing it well that Iajuddin is neither non-partisan
nor neutral but expected him to act in line with the constitution in the
interest of the people".
However, "it appeared impossible as Iajuddin was "acting at the
dictate of the Hawa Bhaban to manipulate the polls," she said in an
oblique reference to her archival Khaleda Zia, former premier and leader
of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led four-party combine that
included fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party.
"We want to take part in the polls which will reflect the peoples
will, but that is not possible keeping Iajuddin as the chief advisor of
the interim caretaker administration. He has installed a shadow
BNP-Jamaat government instead of an non-party government," she said amid
huge applause from alliance partners and supporters.
The decision by the alliance to boycott the polls has raised the
spectre of violence in Bangladesh. Hasina called for a two nationwide
blockade to press for Iaujjidin`s resignation.