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POST TIME: 8 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
BNP rejects PM remark over joining polls, insists on talks
STAFF REPORTER

BNP rejects PM remark over joining polls, insists on talks

BNP yesterday rejected outright Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's statement that the BNP would join the next polls by rubbing own nose. "Question does not arise of any participation of the BNP in the next general elections. Under the prevailing situation, the government rather would be compelled to hold the election ensuring participation of all political parties," said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. He was talking to reporters after a meeting of a Chinese delegation with party chairperson Khaleda Zia in the capital yesterday.

The BNP’s instant reaction came couple of hours after the Prime Minister’s press briefing. Mirza Fakhrul also urged the premier to be responsible while making statement by shunning arrogance. Replying to a question, he said the people would decide as to who would apologies to whom.

Earlier, a six-member Chinese delegation met Khaleda at her Gulshan office.

Meanwhile, BNP leaders yesterday iterated that the government should resolve the current political impasse through dialogue.

They wondered how Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, being the head of the government, could make aggressive statements regarding holding talks with another major political party and level false allegations against Khaleda Zia.

Some leaders said if the Premier did not take any initiative to hold a free, fair and credible election under a neutral administration, they would take the issue to the people.

The BNP leaders’ comments came immediately after the Prime Minister’s press briefing on the outcome of her just-concluded visit to Cambodia. During the press briefing at her official residence, Hasina made it amply clear that she would not make any attempt to hold any dialogue with the BNP, a party that had boycotted the January 5 polls in 2014.

Hasina said the BNP would not make such a mistake this time and would join the national election. The AL chief was critical of the BNP chief’s comments that she had forgiven the Awami League chief. Khaleda should apologise to the nation for her misdeeds, she added.

Hasina also criticised the BNP founder, Ziaur Rahman, for providing opportunities to anti-Liberation forces to do politics in the name of introducing multi-party democracy.

“The door of discussion should not be closed. The current political impasse must be resolved through talks with political parties,” said BNP standing committee member, Lt Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman.

He also said a congenial atmosphere should be created to hold the general election in a free, fair and neutral manner.

Preferring anonymity, a senior vice-chairman of the party said the government planned to manipulate the polls after sensing that there was no scope for the AL to return to power. “That’s why they are not willing to hold dialogue. If they hold talks, they may give some concession and commitment to the opposition,” he added.

The BNP leader apprehended that top opposition leaders would be convicted and not be allowed to take part in the election.

He said the Prime Minister’s statements had pushed the method of transfer of power towards uncertainty.   “The AL will make sure that the people will have no role and they won’t be able to cast their votes,” he feared.

BNP joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal termed the PM’s statement as half-truth. He said the PM’s statement went well beyond political courtesy. He alleged that the PM had made the statement out of political vengeance.

Replying to a question, Alal said the BNP would not wait for the government’s initiative to hold the dialogue. “We’ve put our proposals to the Election Commission. If the government does not hold any talks, we’ll hold talks with the common people,” he added.

On introduction of multi-party democracy, Alal said the AL had been created after multi-party democracy was introduced. “The AL has emerged as a political party from BAKSAL, and its chief has been elected Prime Minister taking advantage of multi-party democracy,” he added.