Hopes raised by the dialogue in political circles to break an election-time impasse are fading due to the government’s stubborn attitude to the opposition, said BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
“The government's rigid attitude during yesterday’s dialogue with the Jatiya Oikya Front is an ominous sign,” he said at a news conference in Dhaka on Friday, reports bdnews24.com.
The Jatiya Oikya Front led by Dr Kamal Hossain sat with Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina to iron out differences surrounding the general election at the Ganabhaban on Thursday. After the talks, Oikya Front said it found “no solution” in the dialogue.
“The dialogue raised hopes among people. With the dialogue over, it’s now being nipped in the bud,” Rizvi said.
In the talks with the prime minister, the key demand the Oikya Front placed was the release of jailed politicians, including BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, and dissolution of parliament before the general election to be overseen by a nonpartisan government.
Their other demands include lifting obstructions on political programmes, reforming the Election Commission through talks with all the political parties and deployment of the army with magistracy powers during the polls.
“The Awami League did not pay heed to the seven-point demand,” Rizvi said.
He alleged that the government continued to arrest the opposition leaders and activists even after the dialogue.
Saleh Mohammed Ithen, president of the Tangail district unit of the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, was arrested soon after the dialogue on Thursday night.
Rizvi urged the leaders and activists to unite for the seven-point demand by launching street protests if the government does not change its attitude.
“If the government regains its conscience and becomes sincere about holding a neutral election, and if it does not push the country to into divisive politics, we will sit again.”
The BNP leader called upon the government to build a political consensus so that voters could go to the polls without fear.
“The election must be held under a non-partisan government and the release of Khaleda Zia must be ensured. We are firm on these demands.”