Dialogue is not optional, it’s a must at this stage
Politicians are nothing if not masters of the elusive art of compromise. When a crisis ensues in a nation's life, it falls on the politicians to negotiate a solution and execute it. If it has something to do with the politicians themselves, they can reach across the aisle and iron out their differences. They can bicker publicly but bond privately, and that has always served nations. So what's really stopping Awami League and BNP from taking even baby steps towards that all-too-important compromise over the next election, despite the catastrophic consequences that likely await the nation should they fail to do so?
According to a report, while meeting a pre-election assessment team of the US on Monday, both parties held steadfastly to their positions. Awami League has said that no compromise can be worked out with BNP in violation of the constitution, while BNP has said that a fair election is only possible under a neutral administration. There have been accusations and counteraccusations as well, with the former alleging that BNP has "blocked the space" for any compromise, and the latter alleging that the ruling party has "institutionalised" vote rigging and thus must resign before election.
It is clear that mistrust still runs deep between the two parties, and neither is willing to take the first step towards reconciliation. A fair election – which both Awami League and BNP want – requires having the right system in place and the right environment for holding it – which both parties also agree on, at least theoretically. Where things get sticky is finding the right way to go about it. Given their diametrically opposite views on this matter, we must ask: is there a middle ground where the concerns of both can be addressed and accommodated – ensuring neutrality of the election-time government by limiting partisan influences in election-related affairs but without compromising the spirit of the constitution? Can each budge a little from their position so that both can come closer to a working understanding?
After all, what is more important – party interests or public interests? Both parties should understand that their intransigence is only hurting the nation, with an already battered economy likely to bleed more if the uncertainty is prolonged. The threat to lives should also not be discounted if violence erupts. For the greater good of the nation, it is imperative that both parties engage in dialogues immediately and try to find a common ground from which they can work on finding a workable solution.