The BNP yesterday once again called upon the government to hold a dialogue with all opposition parties for a credible and acceptable election, while the ruling Awami League said there was no time and need for the talks.
At a discussion at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU), BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir urged the government to find an acceptable way for holding the polls.
"We would like to tell the government that please come to the straight path and release our leader Khaleda Zia, hold talks with her and all other opposition parties to find a way for holding a fair election," he said, UNB reports.
Speaking at another programme around the same time, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said there were no time and also no convincing reason for holding dialogues ahead of the polls, BSS reports.
“The schedule of the general election may be announced in the first week of November. So who will hold dialogue with whom within these 10 to 12 days?” he asked.
Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, was talking to reporters following an AL secretary-level meeting at the party president's Dhanmondi office.
He also heavily criticised the new political alliance Jatiya Oikyafront, terming it an alliance of evil communal forces. He said the AL would not hold any talks with them.
“The evil communal forces have become united in the name of Jatiya Oikyafront. Their prime target is to overthrow Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. So, many conspiracies will be hatched and sabotage plans will be made centring the polls,” he said.
On October 13, BNP, together with Dr Kamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Prokriya, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) and Nagorik Oikya, launched Jatiya Oikyafront to press for their seven-point demand, including holding the next polls under a non-party administration.
At the DRU discussion, organised by Jatiya Ganatantrik Party (Jagpa) demanding BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's release from jail and annulment of the recently-passed Digital Security Act, Fakhrul said there was no alternative to holding talks for ensuring people's welfare and peace and building a “democratic Bangladesh”.
He warned that the government would have to shoulder all the responsibilities if the dialogues did not take place.
The BNP leader then called upon all parties, including the left-leaning ones, to unite to ensure a “change in power and restoration of democracy”.
He said the nation was facing another crisis for what he said was division in the current Election Commission.
"The Election Commission has got divided. The crisis in the commission is also the crisis of the state."
He said the EC cannot hold a unilateral election to put a particular party in power. "If they do it, they'll violate their oaths and the constitution. It'll undoubtedly be a crime of sedition,” he added.