Awami League announces shutdown on Dec 21

Awami League president Sheikh Hasina made the announcement from a rally organised by her 14-party alliance at Paltan Ground.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 12:38 IST

Bangladesh's Awami League-led political alliances on Monday announced to observe a nationwide general strike on Thursday to press home its demands for rescheduling of the election date after reconstituting the polls body.

Awami League president Sheikh Hasina made the announcement from a grand rally organised by her 14-party alliance at downtown Paltan Ground.

"Fair election is not possible within the existing timetable that the commission has already announced," Sheikh Hasina told the rally, adding that the election commission has failed to prepare a correct voters roll as of now.

"How come a credible election is possible without having a correct voters roll?" she said calling upon the caretaker government and the election commission to announce a fresh election schedule after correcting the roll.

She also warned that all the political partiers but the immediate past ruling alliance of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami were now united, and they would not take part in the election unless a level playing filed was created.

Bangladesh election authorities by now have shifted twice the dates for election.

The latest shift came earlier on Tuesday on account of religious festival of Sawrashati Puja, which had coincided with the January 23 polls date.

Now, the commission announced that the election would take place on January 22 instead.

On November 17, the commission without having any discussion with the major political parties hastily fixed January 21 for voting date, but the polls body was forced to change the date as the AL-led alliance took tough street agitation to press home their demands for re-casting of the election commission, correcting voters roll, neutralisation of the administration politicised by the past government.

The alliance, which has been expanded with joining of the two former presidents — AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury and Hussein Muhammad Ershad—was now pressing the government to implement the demands.

The leaders said that the Iajuddin has failed to run the interim caretaker administration and he would not be able to conduct a free and fair election.

First Published: Dec 19, 2006 12:38 IST