Opposition parties in Bangladesh form new alliance ahead of election, seek creation of all-party caretaker government
Gono Forum President Kamal Hossain unveiled the new political alliance 'Jatiya Oikya Front' with former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Dhaka: Some political parties in Bangladesh, including the main opposition BNP, formed an anti-government alliance on Saturday to force the ruling party to form an all-party caretaker government ahead of the general election in December, according to media reports.
Gono Forum President Kamal Hossain unveiled the new political alliance 'Jatiya Oikya Front' with former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party and two other parties, saying it was for the greater interest of the country, Daily Star reported.
"The newly floated alliance started its journey with a vow to force the ruling quarter to resign from the state power before the announcement of the schedule of the upcoming general election," Kamal, a prominent lawyer, said at a press confrence.
An all-party acceptable election-time government will have to be formed after the dissolution of the current parliament, Kamal said in the press conference.
He also demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners including BNP chairperson Zia, who has been in jail since February after a court sentenced her over the alleged embezzlement of foreign funds meant for an orphanage trust.
BNP leaders allege she was being denied proper medical treatment in the jail.
During the press conference, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna announced seven-point demands and 11-point goals of the newly formed political alliance, the report said.
"We have been hatching efforts to form such national unity and at last, we became successful today," Manna said.
Earlier, differences emerged between Kamal and Bikalpadhara Bangladesh chief and former president Badrudoza Chowdhury over the inclusion of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and the BNP in the alliance.
The two leaders held separate media briefings instead of their planned joint appearance before the press.
Later, Kamal formed the alliance with the BNP, leaving out Chowdhury.
Bangladesh is set to hold elections in December.
Zia, 72, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, 70, — the country's two formidable leading women — are known as the 'Battling Begums' for their bitter rivalry that has poisoned the Bangladeshi politics for nearly three decades.
Between 1991 and 2006 Zia became the prime minister for three terms and Hasina for one.
Since 2009, Hasina's party has been in power.
When the Hasina-led government refused to hand over power to a caretaker government before the 2014 national elections, BNP boycotted the poll.
In May, Zia was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the trust case. But, she still remains in jail after being implicated in some other violence-related cases.
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