To facilitate formation of all-party interim govt for polls
Press Trust of India
Dhaka, 11 November
Bangladesh’s Cabinet ministers today resigned to facilitate the formation of an all-party interim government to oversee general elections, even as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led Opposition stuck to their demand for a neutral non-party government further deepening the violent political standoff.
“The ministers and state minister present at the today’s (regular) cabinet meeting have submitted their resignation letters to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” Prime Minister’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said.
“The ministers whose resignation will not be accepted by the PM will continue with their portfolio,” Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after all the 52 ministers and state minister submitted their resignations.
However, the main Opposition BNP and its 17 allies are adamant on their demand for a caretaker government to organise the elections and demanded the resignation of Ms Hasina. “The only way to avert the current crisis is forming a non-party government. The ministers have submitted resignations. But, the nation is waiting for the Prime Minister’s resignation,” BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told reporters.
The crisis will not be resolved if the government went ahead with the forming an all-party government, the BNP leader said. “Then we have to understand that these resignations are part of the ‘blue-print’ prepared for the election.”
An adviser to the Prime Minister said the resignation of some of the ministers would not be accepted under a government plan to keep them in the all-party government while the resignations of the rest were sent to the presidential palace for formal acceptance.
The development came as a nationwide 84-hour general strike enforced by the BNP and its right-wing allies, including fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, is underway for the second consecutive day partly paralysing the normal life.
A total of 24 people have been killed in nationwide clashes during the fresh wave of protests last week. Two more persons were killed yesterday, taking the toll to 26.
The recent strike was enforced following two back-to-back 60-hour shutdowns since 27 October to mount pressure for a “non-party” caretaker government with the “most acceptable” person as its head for the election oversight. This will be the third prolonged strike in two weeks.
The BNP-led alliance called the first 60-hour shutdown from 27 October and second one from 4 November to press for the restoration of the neutral caretaker government system.