Analysis: Is compromise possible if the schedule is extended?
Thursday (November 30) was the last day to submit nomination papers for the 12th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) elections. There was a curiosity among the common people throughout the day whether the BNP would come to the polls even before the submission of nomination papers.
Because of that curiosity, many were eagerly waiting to see if BNP submits nomination papers today. But in the end, the BNP did not submit any nomination papers today. Although there was enthusiasm among the common people to know more about the issue, political analysts already understood that BNP is not coming to the elections because even on the last day of submission of nomination papers, they observed hartal. Moreover, there is no preparation for the BNP to go to the elections.
Most of the central leaders, including the party's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, are now in jail. In this situation, it is impossible to have a dialogue about the election because there is no leader outside the prison to speak for dialogue.
It is being talked about whether the main opposition party BNP will come to the election after the deadline for submission of nomination papers or whether there is any chance of compromise. At the end of day, no nomination papers have been submitted by the BNP. Does that mean the 12th JS elections are going to be held without the BNP? However, several election commissioners repeatedly said that if BNP comes to the polls, the schedule will be changed.
Political analysts said that the schedule is still possible to change. And the Election Commission also has that power. However, there is a constitutional obligation to hold elections within 90 days. Normally 45 days should be allowed from the announcement of schedule till the day of election. As such, there is one week left until election day.
Constitutional experts said that the election schedule can be postponed till December 12. The matter completely depends on the Election Commission. However, if BNP does not come to the election, then the discussion is going on about what is the benefit of delaying the schedule.
Political analysts said that since BNP's central leaders are in jail, those who are out are not coming out in public. In this situation, there is no situation for discussion or dialogue. In the political environment that is prevailing now, or from any foreign country, there is still no open activity in this regard.
Analysts said the schedule may be changed even after the deadline for filing nominations has crossed. The schedule is not only changed, the Election Commission can also cancel it if it wants. In that case, the commission will have to take a very bold decision. No such decision has been taken by any commission in the past.
On the other hand, there is no other initiative from the ruling Awami League. However, the General Secretary of the party, Obaidul Quader, said that if the Election Commission adjusts the schedule keeping in mind the deadline, it is a matter for the Election Commission. That is, a green signal was given by the government. After Thursday, it can be assumed that that possibility has also weakened.
Meanwhile, Raushan Ershad, the chief patron of Jatiya Party, one of the partners of the government, had already demanded rescheduling. However, it is assumed that this claim of Raushan Ershad will not prevail at all with the government.
However, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley and ambassadors of seven European countries visited the Election Commission on Wednesday and held a meeting. At the end of the meeting, the ambassadors spoke of democratic, credible, peaceful and participatory elections. However, the Election Commission has also clarified the issue of holding elections as part of their constitutional obligations.
BNP leaders, however, said that since they are agitating for the resignation of the government, they are not concerned about whether the schedule is delayed or not. Member of the BNP standing committee Abdul Moin Khan said, they want a fair, impartial and inclusive election. Extending the deadline for submission of nominations here will not achieve their claim.
All things considered and the BNP-Awami League's adamant stance, it is clear that there will be no compromise between the two parties if the schedule is changed. For this we want sincere initiative and unconditional dialogue.