Awami League (AL) Presidium Member and Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque yesterday clari-fied the remark he made during an interview with a private television channel regarding BNP leaders’ participation in the upcoming election as a “condition” for their release from jail.
“The Election Commission has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of deferring the election date if BNP agrees to participate. If BNP decided to join the polls, will it happen with him in jail? There would have been negotiations. After the formalities, they would have been released through the legal process. There are many legal experts in the Election Commission,” he said while speaking to reporters in his office at the Bangladesh Secretariat yesterday.
“If BNP agrees, the election date can be deferred to create a conducive environment. That is what I meant,” he said.
He also said that a lot can be achieved through dialogue for an acceptable election.
“Bangabandhu, who was supposed to be hanged in the Agartala conspiracy case — where did that case go? He secured bail in just one day. There must have been discussions and formalities for that to hap-pen,” he said.
In an interview given to Channel 24, Razzaque said that BNP leaders and activists have been “kept in jail” to prevent violence in the country.
“BNP turned down an opportunity to take part in the upcoming election,” he said.
Earlier, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said that Razzaque’s remarks are “personal,” and do not reflect the party’s position.
Regarding this, Razzaque said, “Certainly, it was my personal remark. My party also wants all parties to participate in the election.”
“Economy and politics go hand in hand all over the world. You have to accept it. Just talking about law won’t change that reality… I can give thousands of examples,” he said.
“How have they (BNP activists) cut the railway lines? Is there a war going on in the country? These are things done during wartime. To stop these, people must be arrested. Would any activist set fire to buses without orders from BNP leaders? It is the responsibility of the Awami League government to ensure the safety and security of people’s lives and property. In that context, they have been arrested,” said Abdur Razzaque.