'Election train won't stop' despite obstacles, says Quader

The upcoming 12th national elections will take place as planned, says the Awami League leader

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 1 Dec 2023, 10:11 AM
Updated : 1 Dec 2023, 10:11 AM

Awami League leader Obaidul Quader maintains that the upcoming 12th national elections will go ahead as planned, regardless of the obstacles facing the electoral process.

"The election train will not stop until it reaches its destination. No matter how many obstacles are placed, no one can stop it. The elections will happen," Quader said at a media briefing at the Awami League president's political office in Dhanmondi on Friday.

As the January 7 polls draw near, political tensions in Bangladesh is escalating, with the largest opposition group, the BNP, enforcing shutdowns and blockades in their push for the establishment of an election-time caretaker government. The party has insisted that it will not participate in the polls unless the Awami League government steps aside.

Quader was critical of the BNP's approach, condemning the acts of violence and arson associated with the party's protest programmes.

"The BNP is plotting to thwart the election by resorting violence, terrorism and arson. They are now talking about a new movement.

"But how successful have the hartals and blockadeds been? I would say that not a single one of these programmes have been succesful. They have engaged in acts of terror and arson but have not been able to garner the people's support."

Despite the BNP's stance against the elections, the Awami League general secretary pointed out that 15 central leaders of the party and 30 of its former members of parliament are participating in the 12th parliamentary elections.

"Thirty registered political parties are taking part in the elections. It's a big success."

Quader also downplayed concerns about the participatory nature of the polls in light of the BNP's absence from the ballots.

"Elections are held in many countries across, including Europe, Africa, Latin America, and many countries, despite the absence of opposition parties. But no one considers those elections illegal. As long as the participation of the people is ensured, an election can't be considered invalid if one or two refuses to participate."

Quader is optimistic about the elections, saying that a festive atmosphere is prevailing across the country in anticipation for the polls.

He also criticised human rights groups for their 'silence' on the violence that the BNP is perpetrating in the name of an antigovernment movement.

Ahead of the elections, the Awami League has announced candidates for 298 of the 300 parliamentary seats. However, many ruling party leaders are planning to contest the elections as independent candidates. Quader said the issue will be monitored until Dec 16.