Joining election with Jamaat in JOF was a mistake: Dr Kamal

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Staff Reporter:

Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain on Saturday said it was a mistake of his party to join the recent 11th parliamentary elections with Jamaat-e-Islami under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront (JOF).

“I’ve already publicly said I was not aware of Jamaat candidates in the election. When I gave consent… I was not informed about Jamaat. I think you (journalists) can say it was a mistake”, he said.

Dr Kamal came up with the remarks at a press conference at Gono Forum’s Arambagh central office after a meeting of party’s central committee.

He also said he never did politics with Jamaat and will not do either in the future.

“My position is clear we never did politics with Jamaat nor think of doing it in the future but what you’re saying about doing politics with Jamaat, we were not aware of it,” he said.

Replying to a question, Dr Kamal said they will mount pressure on BNP to drop Jamaat from its alliance to keep the Oikyafront intact and make it stronger.

The election was held on December 30, 2018, bringing a landslide victory for the ruling Awami League amid allegations of widespread rigging and irregularities.

Asked what will be the position of Gono Forum if BNP does not ditch Jamaat, he said, “It’s a hypothetical question. We’ll talk about it if it happens.”

Gono Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu said their party forged the alliance with BNP, not with the 20-party and Jamaat.  “We raised our objection when 22 Jamaat leaders were nominated to contest the election with Sheaf of Paddy. The BNP secretary general had told us they nominated them as BNP candidates, not as Jamaat leaders.”

He said they now want to resolve the Jamaat issue. “We surely want a solution to the issue as we won’t do politics with Jamaat.”

Asked whether their party’s two MPs will take oath, Montu said they will decide it later after discussions.

At the meeting of their central committee, he said, their leaders discussed the December-30 election, post-election atmosphere and worked out their party’s future course of action.

Montu said their leaders strongly believe that there is no alternative to a national unity for waging a democratic movement in the days to come to ‘restore’ democracy. “But a strong national unity will have to be forged in the future correcting the unintended mistakes that took place during the hurried formation of Jatiya Oikyafront.”

He pushes for fresh polls by 2-3 months

Dr Kamal said there is no disagreement among people to form the parliament through a fair and acceptable election. “No one, other than the ruling party spokesman, is saying that there was a fair election on December 30, and there is no scope to say that. I think it’s not a big deal to resolve such a problem. The government should hold a fair election by two to three months enabling all to cast votes freely in the interest of the country and the constitution.”

He said the government should think it did not gain people’s trust through the 11th parliamentary election as they were denied their right to vote. “People should be given a chance so that they can cast their votes as per their will. If you get majority in a fair election, it’ll be very meaningful.”

The Gano Forum chief said doing something hastily at the dead of night and announcing its results cannot be called an election. “The government shouldn’t have any confusion to get rid of the questions raised regarding the December-30 election.”

He thinks the government held such an election for maintaining the continuation of the government as it did on January 5, 2014. “You should hold a meaningful election alongside maintaining the continuation.”

Dr Kamal urged the government to hold a fair election instead of indulging in debate over the December-30 one showing respect for the constitution. “If a government is formed through a fair and credible election, it’ll be easier for it to discharge its duties properly.”

Around 70 leaders of the party central committee joined the meeting that began at 10am and concluded around 3:45pm.unb

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