Dhaka – The much-hyped dialogue between the ruling Awami League-led coalition and the opposition Jatiya Oikya Front ended apparently inconclusive Wednesday with the opposition finding no solution towards their demands for an inconclusive election.
In response to the oppositions’ demand, the ruling quarter stick to its gun saying there was no room for violation of the constitution. They, however, said some of the opposition demands could be met.
“The (formal) dialogue is ended, but there is no restriction to have (informal) discussion,” Awami League secretary general Obaidul Quader told reporters after nearly two and a half hour meeting between the two political camps.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also the president of the ruling Awami League, led the ruling coalition while former foreign minister Kamal Hossain spearheaded the opposition Oikya Front, an alliance surfaced in early October accommodating Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, at the meeting at Gonobhaban.
The two sides met for the second time in a week to resolve contentious issues ahead of the national election, schedule of which is likely to be announced on Thursday. According to constitutional provision, Bangladesh has to conduct the general election by January 28, the day tenure of current parliament will expire.
Emerging out of the meeting at Gonobhaban, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, one of the leaders of the Oikya Front, said the talks were not good enough to reach a solution.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the BNP, said they will continue discussion with the government. “We have been demanding deferral of the election for credible holding of the election,” he said.
The AL general secretary, Quader, said the opposition demanded election to be held 90 days after the dissolution of parliament. But it is against the constitutional provision.
The election will be held under the present government. “There is no scope to go beyond the constitution. We’ve conveyed that clearly,” he said.
Some quarter might find extra-constitutional ways through the loopholes of the proposals of the opposition, he added.
He said that the government will look into their other demands including release of political prisoners. But the release of BNP chief Khaleda Zia, who was jailed after her conviction in two graft cases, depends on the legal procedures.
“We have no problem if she can secure bail through legal battle,” the minister said. He added that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would make everything clear at her scheduled press conference on Thursday.
Tofail Ahmed, a senior leader of the AL, said the opposition made some statements which are contradictory and conflicting with the constitution and are not acceptable.
“We have no objection if they want to sit again on any issue after the announcement of the election schedule,” he added.
The opposition alliance, at a news conference in the afternoon said that they would continue their pre-announced protest of a march to northern district of Rajshahi.
The leaders of the alliance on Tuesday told a rally in Dhaka that they would continue protest if the government pay no heed to their demands.
Asked what they would do once the election commission announce the schedule for the next general election, Mirza Fakhrul said they would also organize a march towards the commission.