Dialogue not on AL’s mind at the moment
The Awami League at this point is not considering talks with the BNP to solve the current political impasse over the next general elections.
According to AL sources, the party believes this is not the time to invite the BNP for talks and that dialogue with the BNP will never bear any fruit as the lattar's main demand is the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
AL veteran Amir Hossain Amu brought the issue to the fore through some remarks on Tuesday.
At a programme of the AL-led 14-party alliance on Bangabandhu Avenue that day, Amu said, "The door for dialogue is open. Keeping the constitution in mind, we are ready to do anything for a solution. Come forward, we are willing to sit with you [the BNP]."
"Let a representative of the United Nations come. We want to sit with the BNP face to face and see where the differences are," he added.
Sources said AL President Sheikh Hasina spoke to Amu about his statement yesterday morning after she placed a wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Dhanmondi-32 on the occasion of the historic Six-Point Day.
They said Hasina conveyed to Amu that what he said on Tuesday was not the party line. There is no need to go so soft, she said.
Later in the day, Amu, during a discussion which was presided over by Hasina, made a U-turn and said nothing was said about dialogue and no one was invited.
"There is no chance of inviting anyone. It's not like the Awami League will treat someone in its house by inviting them," he said.
"Elections will be held as per the constitution and all political parties must participate in the election following the constitution," Amu continued.
During her address at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday, Hasina did not say anything about dialogue but she did say, "Let them [the BNP] do whatever movement they want to do. We'll not say anything."
When asked about the party's stance on dialogue, a central leader of the AL cited the remarks of Hasina and said the party president made it crystal clear.
But before Hasina spoke, senior AL leaders had made confusing statements.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said his party has made no decision to hold talks with political parties ahead of the next national election.
But, he said, "In our country, we will discuss our own problems. We will solve it ourselves if necessary. There is no such political crisis in the country that requires the mediation or intervention of the United Nations."
Solution to any crises is in the constitution, he said after placing a wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu.
Responding to a question about Amu's statement, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan stressed the need for dialogue for solving any problems. There is no alternative to having talks, he said.
AL Joint General Secretary Hasan Mahmud at a programme around noon said what Amu had said was his personal opinion and that it was not the position of the government or the AL or the 14-party alliance.
"There was no discussion about this in our party or in the government. It was not even discussed in the 14-party alliance," said Hasan, also information and broadcasting minister.
AL insiders said the party might rethink its stance if the BNP came up with a proposal for dialogue accepting that Hasina would lead the election-time government.
The BNP, however, said it is not paying any heed to the statements about dialogue as it wants to realise its demands through a movement.
BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury yesterday said his party was yet to get any formal proposal from the AL about the election-time government.
"It is not important to me who is saying what. If anyone gives us any written proposal, we will consider responding," he said at a programme.