A day after BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia expressed her party's inclination to dialogue, the ruling Awami League leaders yesterday dismissed possibility of any talks before 2019, saying the country was not having a situation that warranted dialogue.
The ruling party leaders also asked the BNP leadership to wait till 2019 when the next parliamentary election is due to be held. Before that, there is no scope for dialogue regarding polls, but talks can be held on important national issues, they said.
On Sunday, Khaleda Zia told an EU delegation that her party was ready for dialogue with the government anytime to reach consensus about holding an inclusive parliamentary election. She made her stand clear when a European Union (EU) parliamentary delegation met with her at her Gulshan office.
But yesterday, AL advisory council member Suranjit Sengupta, joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif, and publicity affairs secretary Hasan Mahmud, at different programmes, expressed their views about BNP's unwillingness about talks. The ruling party leaders also set pre-conditions for Khaleda for dialogue.
Addressing a programme at the capital's Institution of Diploma Engineers, Suranjit said his party always believed in talks for resolving any crisis. But Khaleda Zia will have to determine the agenda of the dialogue, and the agenda must be clear before talks, he said.
Suranjit also said before talks, Khaleda would have to admit her mistakes first for choosing violent politics and instigating militancy and have to shun politics of confrontation. "Talks must be held in accordance with the constitution and keeping faith in the spirit of the liberation war."
At a separate programme at AL President Sheikh Hasina's Dhanmondi office, Hanif said no situation had been created in the country that required dialogue. He, however, said AL always believed in talks.
"The people are not thinking about any midterm election at this moment, and it is not the right time to talk about the next parliamentary polls," he added. Hanif also requested foreign friends not to meddle in the country's internal issues.
At another programme at Jatiya Press Club, Hasan Mahmud said his party had wanted dialogue before the January 5 national election, but Khaleda Zia then ridiculed that invitation and gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the government to step down.
"The next national election will be held in time in accordance with the constitutional provisions. There is no possibility of holding the national polls before 2019." So, there is no scope for talks on polls before 2019, Hasan continued.
Calling upon the BNP chief to apologise for her confrontational politics and celebrating birthday on August 15, the day Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in 1975, Hasan said if Khaleda apologised, talks were possible on various important national issues.