Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said BNP wants the assurance of going to state power, not the elections.
“BNP seeks such a commission (Election Commission) and a system which would earlier ensure that the party would go to power. In fact, BNP is afraid of elections. For this, they are giving negative statements over polls. They (BNP) want that the authority concerned would grantee the party to go to power. Otherwise, it seems that they would not accept,” he said.
The minister said this to reporters after a seminar on Tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 and strengthening the tobacco control act to prevent non-communicable diseases at an auditorium of CIRDUP in the capital.
Bangladesh Parliamentary Forum for Health and Wellbeing organized the seminar with its chairman Professor Dr Md Habibe Millat in the chair.
Former health minister Professor Dr AFM Ruhal Haque and former state minister for women and children affairs ministry Meher Afroz Chumki, among others, addressed the seminar as special guests.
Welcoming the Election Commission’s initiative of discussions, Hasan said the discussions between the EC and all stakeholders including the civil society are very positive. “We want a fantastic election through the participation of all parties including BNP. But, it is their own party decision whether they would take part in the polls or not,” he added.
He said BNP killed people through arson attacks and many BNP leaders including its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir are accused of giving the order. The cases are on trial and the trial needs to be held in speedy trial tribunal, he added.
The minister said such cruelty of killing people through torching by BNP did not happen anywhere in the contemporary world. “I personally think that their (BNP) trial should be held in a speedy trial tribunal,” said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.
Earlier in the seminar, he said the government has an aim to achieve tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040 though it is not easy in 18 years. Law has been enacted against smoking in public places and there is vast camping, he added.
For this, he said, the number of smokers has decreased. Continuous campaign and implementation of law are needed to achieve the target, he added.
The minister said the per capita income of about 2.50 crore people is more than 5,000 dollars. And the number will increase two times in the next five to seven years if the ongoing development and progress continues under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he added.
He said Bangladesh is marching ahead indomitably and a vast development has taken place in all sectors during the last 13 years. Currently, the per capita income is 2,600 dollars which was 600 dollars 13 years ago, he added.
Millat said a request letter of 153 lawmakers to amend the tobacco control act including e-cigarette has been sent to the premier. Besides, two letters have been sent to the health minister and the finance minister to increase the tax and prices of tobacco products, he added.