Donald Lu’s Dhaka Visit: AL, BNP trying to take mileage
A wide range of discussions is underway in the field of politics over the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu to Bangladesh with both ruling and opposition camps trying to take the political mileage from it.
Donald Lu came to Dhaka on Saturday on a two-day visit to strengthen bilateral relationship and expand economic engagement between Dhaka and Washington.
His visit came at a time when ruling Awami League and opposition camps, led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), are staging showdown to establish their supremacy on the streets ahead of the next general election slated for early January in 2024.
Briefing reporters during the visit, Donald Lu said he had very honest and open discussions and reiterated US commitment to democracy and human rights. “We’ll stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of expressions and we look forward to working very closely with our partner here in Bangladesh,” he said.He also reportedly said all political parties should have rights to do politics and assembly.
Top leaders of the ruling party said the US assistant secretary applauded the overall progress of Bangladesh.
They also said he was happy as the government allowed BNP to hold its rally on December 10.
To take a political mileage over BNP, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Monday questioned where BNP would go as Donald Lu lauded Bangladesh for its overall development in various sectors. “The government had talks with Donald Lu over credible election. Lu also emphasised on credible polls,” he said, adding that all are friends and development partners of Sheikh Hasina.
At a meeting, the government also informed the US state secretary of its stance on holding free, fair and credible polls as Awami League always believes in elections and always formed governments through ballots, not bullets.
When Donald Lu drew its attention to the allegations of irregularities in elections, the government refuted those, saying it introduced photo identity and transparent ballot boxes to prevent fake voting and stuffing.
They also conveyed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s desire for a free and fair election and her relentless efforts towards that end.
Against the backdrop, the BNP leaders said the US spoke about the election system as it had been collapsed.
While addressing a rally, BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain claimed that Donald Lu said there is no democracy in the country and the last two elections were not held accordingly.
“They really want a free fair, credible and inclusive election next time….why the US has to say such words? It is because the government has ruined the election system to hang onto power,” he said.