Greetings Over Tea: PM invites, Oikyafront declines | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:10 AM, January 27, 2019

Greetings Over Tea: PM invites, Oikyafront declines

The Jatiya Oikyafront declined Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's February 2 invitation to exchange greetings over tea.

The distribution of the invitation letters began yesterday.

Awami League sources said Hasina would invite to the Gono Bhaban the 75 political parties and alliances with whom she had sat for a dialogue before the election.

The Jatiya Oikyafront, a component of the Gonoforum, in an impromptu reaction said there was no question of accepting the invitation as the PM had not set any agenda for the programme.

“There is no agenda in the invitation letter. We do not want to attend the programme for tea only and exchange greetings after a farcical national election [on December 30],” Gonoforum Executive President Subrata Chowdhury said.

However, Oikyafront spokesperson Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Star that he was yet to receive the invite.

“We will take a decision regarding the PM's invitation following a meeting of top Oikyafront leaders,” he added.

PM'S CALL MERE RHETORIC: FAKHRUL

Terming Hasina's call for national unity mere political rhetoric, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday urged the nation to build unity and demanded a fresh election under a caretaker government.

He said the PM's address to the nation was a manifestation of her “guilty conscience”, as she tried to justify her party's victory and the Oikyafront's defeat in the national polls.

“I think she delivered such a speech out of guilt. It seems to me [that] she perhaps realised what they did [in the election] was not right,” Fakhrul told reporters at the party's Nayapaltan central office in Dhaka.

About the PM's call for a national unity, Fakhrul said there was no reason for people to accept it as they had seen the PM fail to live up to the promises she made during talks with Oikyafront before the election.

"She assured us that no new arrests would be made, no fresh case would be filed and a level-playing field would be ensured. But she couldn't live up to any of her promises. So, now her call for the national unity is nothing but rhetoric."

In a televised address to the nation on Friday evening, Hasina stressed the need for national unity to take the country forward and urged the elected Members of Parliament from the opposition party (BNP-led Jatiya Oikyafront) to take their oath and join the Parliament.

The PM addressed the nation following the formation of her new government on January 7, after securing a landslide victory in the December 30 parliamentary elections.

Taking to reporters, Fakhrul said the election had badly affected the nation as people had lost their confidence in the election process, the Election Commission and the state.

He said this was down to the way the state machinery and its agencies were abused during the election.

The BNP leader said they were demanding a re-election under a neutral government, annulling the December-30 polls as people did not endorse it.

"We want a fresh election to be held so that people can give their verdict through it."

He said their party's elected MPs would neither go to Parliament nor take oath as they had already rejected the election results.

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