Jailed BNP men offered freedom if party agreed to contest polls
BNP leaders were offered release from jail if their party took part in the polls, Awami League presidium member Abdur Razzaque said.
However, the party did not accept the proposal, he added.
Razzaque, also the agriculture minister, made the remarks during an interview with Channel 24, a private TV station. The interview was published on Channel 24's YouTube channel yesterday.
Responding to a question, the AL leader said: "Would you have seen cars plying the streets during hartals if 20,000 BNP leaders and activists were not arrested? We had no other alternative to it. Whatever we did, we did thoughtfully."
He said the Election Commission repeatedly told BNP that the polls schedule would be deferred if they joined. "The proposal was not only about deferral but also about releasing them [BNP leader] from jail."
The BNP said more than 20,000 party leaders and activists have been arrested across the country since its October 28 grand rally in Dhaka.
Many of the party's central leaders, including Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, are now behind bars.
The BNP, its like-minded parties, and Islami Andolon Bangladesh are boycotting the January 7 national election saying that a free and fair election is not possible under the incumbent government.