by Staff Correspondent, Dhaka;
Two senior leaders of the ruling Awami League party have contradicted with one of its advisory council members over possibility of political dialogue with opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for credible holding of the next parliamentary elections due by January 2024.
The party’s general secretary Obaidul Qader and joint general secretary Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday dismissed the statement by Amir Hossain Amu, an advisory council member, who insisted for a dialogue with BNP, if needed, under the United Nations mediation.
“It was his personal opinion. There was no discussion over possible dialogue with BNP in any forum of the Awami League or its 14-pary alliance,” Hasan Mahmud, also the Information Minister of Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet told reporters.
There is no use of dialogue with BNP, the minister said referring to previous dialogues experiences between the AL and the BNP.
“This terrorist party (BNP) wants to prevent holding of the election. It has been a big question as to what outcome a dialogue would bring for the nation,” he said.
The minister remained that the AL chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had to face embarrassing situation when she attempted to console Khaleda Zia, the chief of BNP, after Khaleda’s youngest son Arafat Rahman Coco died in January 2015.
The prime minister waited in front of Khaleda’s home for nearly half an hour. But she did not open the door to allow Hasina in. Despite the embracement, the prime minister held dialogues with BNP, but all those were futile exercise.
He said the dialogue can be with the Election Commission. “If the election commission calls us, we will hold discussion with them,” Mahmud said adding that the AL wants an inclusive election to be attended by all parties, including BNP.
“We want an election to be exemplary to the world.”
To a question on if the BNP puts condition for releasing Khaleda Zia, who was convicted and sentenced in corruption charges and now at home on suspension of her sentence by executive order, to join the election, Hasan said it is absolutely the matter to be settled by the court.
The government can’t release Khaleda from the conviction and sentence, he said.
The AL general secretary Obaidul Qader also dismissed the possibility of any discussion with the BNP. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina too, in earlier occasions, said no to any such dialogue with BNP.
“There has been no talks about such dialogue. We will discuss our problems, and will resolve on ourselves, if need arises,” said Qader, also the minister for roads and bridges affairs.
He also dispelled possibilities of any intervention by the United Nations. “Independent Bangladesh has not yet faced such situation that would require UN intervention,” said the minister.